A fitness enthusiast and a go-getter by nature, we talk to entrepreneur Neha Motwani, founder and CEO of Fitternity about how she nurtured her brainchild
What convinced you to leave the corporate world and set out on the entrepreneurial journey?
I have always been one to make work fun. I thoroughly enjoyed my stint in the corporate world and always wanted to explore the fun of starting something of my own. I decided to jump into entrepreneurship when the idea of Fitternity started taking shape. I have always loved fitness (in any form) and have always yearned for a smarter way to explore fitness. Fitternity was that answer I needed to meet my personal and professional goals.
How did the idea of Fitternity conceptualize and tell us more about how it works?
Fitternity is a result of my weary experience of exploring fitness options. Fitternity is India’s biggest online fitness discovery and booking platform. It first functions as a directory for different kinds of fitness forms, with in-depth information like detailed descriptions, list of amenities at the respective centre, kind of fitness options provided, images and more. Added to this are services like healthy tiffins and personal trainers along with soonto-be-launched categories of dieticians and nutritionists. These features allow our users to explore holistic fitness with over 8500 listings for
them to view across Mumbai, Delhi, Pune and Bangalore. The platform then facilitates experience byallowing users book a free trial or schedule a VIP session to try the services and know
whether it suits them. Keeping with our customer first approach, our dedicated and well equipped Fitness Concierge assists them throughout this journey. Finally the platform becomes the best avenue for our customers to buy the fitness memberships of their choice. With easy payment options (Credit/Debit Cards, Netbanking, wallets, etc.) and clean invoicing, customers enjoy the convenience and accountable facility. We have also offered customers a hassle-free EMI payment option to allow them to buy memberships comfortably. Our motto stems from these points to become: Explore – Try – Buy.
To sum it up you could call us India’s biggest fitness services aggregator and buying platform for all fitness services. The website was launched in early 2014 and after multiple business model pivots evolved into: – A hyper-local online discovery and booking platform providing trials and membership discounts – Holistic fitness aggregator including working out (gym, yoga, zumba, marathon, crossfit, etc.) and eating healthy (healthy tiffin services, healthy snacks, beverages etc.) – India’s largest fitness marketplace with 8,500 listings across Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi & Pune that has helped more than 100,000 customers access different fitness options
What were the initial challenges you faced while setting up this venture?
Startups are riddled with challenges. Mainly because the good ones try to solve a problem and fill gaps that exists in the industry. Fitternity’s journey was no different. When we launched our beta website early in 2014 there wasn’t a single startup / model in the space – Cut to present day there are over 45 startups operating in this segment. While some decided to follow our business model, others have brought the ClassPass model to India. And there are 4-5 startups springing up every month since the environment has become favorable for new entrants in the space. Hence competition does seem to be the first challenge we face. The biggest and perhaps classic challenge we face as aggregators is balancing demand (fitness consumers seeking fitness) & supply (fitness service providers – gym/studio owners & trainers) – Who’s problem are we solving first? Which problems are larger? How to fortify one side of the market? How to cater to demand with short supply and generate value to the supply side without having enough demand? These challenges inherently emerge from our need to change the buying & consumption behavior in this category. We have been able to address this challenge effectively over our journey and have been able to find the right balance by giving customers great options in their vicinity and connecting suppliers to new customers. We are now moving on to scaling this model effectively across markets. By virtue of being a dynamic tech startup some challenges we face: recruiting and building a high performing team across different locations along with dynamically adding verticals within our business model and constantly running experiments on new business lines while keeping track of current growth and progress.
Now with a $1 million seed fund what are your future plans for Fitternity?
It’s been a great journey so far. Our business has quadrupled in the last 6 months – with monthly unique visitors, transactions and sales of fitness memberships growing at 30% every month. Over 100,000 users have booked trials and purchased memberships through Fitternity across Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Pune. We operate on a strong 30% conversions ratio on trials thereby generating great value for service providers. Engagement / repeat rate is going strong at 25% where users access Fitternity again to engage with service providers, discover other fitness services (like MMA & Kickboxing, functional training, healthy tiffins, kids fitness, healthy snacks and beverages).We are planning to venture into more cities in the next 3-6 months. Currently our operations are in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore & Pune. We are looking to add Ahmedabad, Hyderabad & Chennai in the list. Our free mobile app is also going to be out within January 2016 across iOS and Android app stores which will enable users to book workout sessions in a ‘pay-per-use’ format where users will now be able to combine different forms of workout in their routine and not miss their workouts if they’re travelling to a city we’re present in.
What are some of the things the youth can do to incorporate fitness into their daily lives?
– Make time for yourself from your schedule: Start with 15 mins and increase as you move along (this is great for both physical fitness and mental health too) – Find a fit buddy: It is true that your chances to make fitness a habit increase substantially if you have company.
– Be realistic: About your fitness goals, match of fitness form to your body and level of intensity you want to achieve and finding the right guidance for fitness – Start young, start now! : This is the best time for you to make fitness a habit. It may not seem like much right now because you feel invincible with youth, but you will realise how important this conditioning will become as you grow older and busier.
How do you define holistic healthcare?
To put it very simply, I define it as Healthy Selfishness. I believe taking care of yourself, by yourself is the best measure of achieving wellbeing. The reality is you know your body best and can choose not to ignore the signals it gives you. We go out on a limb to pamper ourselves cosmetically. We need to just do a fraction of that of our holistic wellbeing. An exercise can be that perfect start to this pampering by giving yourself as little as 15-20 minutes every day of a good workout where you condition your body, collect your thoughts and plan the day. Take it further with regular bodily checkups, setting and achieving certain fitness goals (like lose weight or be able to run a mile impromptu) and you are on your way
to holistic healthcare.
* Fitness mantra in 3 words – break your limits
* Your role model or mentor – Over the years, many people have inspired me in many ways . I look up to all of them and consider many as my mentor.
* Famous quote – “To improve is to change, to be perfect is to change often” by Winston Churchill
* Hottest celeb – Bradley Cooper
* Favorite food – Green Thai curry and rice
* Any pet peeves – People who are running late
Volume 5 Issue 8