When serial entrepreneur Paul Slater met personal trainer Dave Stidolph, they didn’t only build up Paul’s muscles, they built a business that that is now helping 50,000 fitness freaks around the world.
Fit Gurus is an Android and iOS app that offers hundreds of gym training routines from experienced trainers and athletes. Based in Newcastle but primarily targeting the particularly driven gym rats in America, the team have seen consistent growth since launch late last year.
Slater says that Fit Gurus started as a simple test – will people pay a monthly fee for access to gym training content? He set up a WordPress site with a subscription paywall plugin and found that at around 60 people signed up via some lightweight promotion on Twitter. Small numbers, but encouragingly 70 percent of them kept paying £5.99 each month.
After signing up prominent local tech scene figure Richard Exley as an advisor, Fit Gurus took part in the late 2014 run of the Ignite accelerator in Newcastle. “It was tough, but it makes you accountable for weekly progress and we came out in a good position,” says Slater.
From hardcore to mainstream
The startup raised a £200,000 seed round (the first to be raised on AngelList in the UK) and then started to broaden its reach by making workouts more accessible. Until then, Fit Gurus had focused on punishingly difficult routines that most human beings would find impossible to finish (the Dark Souls of workouts, if you will). That’s a good way of developing a fanbase of hardcore users but not the best way of building a mass-market business.
In late June, seven months after official launch, Fit Gurus was reporting 50,000 total users, 67 percent of which were in the United States. Users are predominantly young and are split roughly equally male and female.
While they’re not yet seeing the ‘hockeystick’ growth that makes venture capitalists salivate, the app is showing stickiness. Slater says that 33 percent of users complete two or more workouts per week, and some use the app to work out every day.
Now Fit Gurus is executing on its plan to take the app to 5 million users and beyond. New features, premium options and an expanded team are on the roadmap. Just don’t expect any celebrity workouts – the “no bull**** approach” is something users love, Slater says.
One to keep an eye on.
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