The largest ride share company in the world does not own any vehicles. The largest accommodations provider in the world does not own any real estate. The Fitu app aims to be a global leader in fitness services – without owning any gyms.
In 2018 alone, the global health club industry generated €73 billion, and one of the fastest-growing components was associated with a spike in group exercise. And with people spending more time and money on fitness, they have started seeking out more opportunities to use their fitness activities as a means of socializing.
Fitu’s free app allows users to book any class or physical activity near them without the need for the long-term financial commitments or membership fees typically associated with gyms or other fitness apps. It also helps users discover new ways to stay active by offering a wide and diverse selection of exercise options. So while yoga, bootcamps, salsa classes and kickboxing are all available, so are trampoline dodgeball, hula hooping, handstand classes, hip-hop pilates, and even disco yoga – which includes a free cocktail.
Fitu has been in a pre-launch mode exclusively in London for the past few months to gather customer feedback and optimize the product, already partnering with more than 170 fitness providers. The startup has now closed a crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs, in which they raised €408k, with a goal of €273k, so that they can expand into other countries.
Fitu has the added benefit of helping fitness studios, trainers and gyms to fill classes that are often under-enrolled. Brits waste an estimated €610 million a year on unused gym memberships, and so Fitu was created to change the industry model and offer flexible pay-as-you-go workouts.
The app is the creation of two like-minded friends – Koen van den Heuvel, 26, from the Netherlands and Rodrigo Contreras, 30, of El Salvador – who place great value on leading fit and healthy lives but were frustrated by the limitations of the fitness options available.
Van den Heuvel is a former supply chain analyst who moved to London to pursue his master’s in business management. An entrepreneur at heart, he started his first venture in e-commerce and has wide-ranging skills related to business strategy, consumer behaviour, trends analysis, and social and digital marketing.
Contreras studied international business in Argentina then worked in El Salvador as an export manager. Eager for a change in his life, he took a leap of faith and moved across the world to London to set-up an event business. He excels in establishing long-term business relationships, negotiating and brand building.
“We were bored with the repetitive gym routine and, like anyone else, didn’t want to be tied to long-term contracts and fees. It was also ridiculously time-consuming to try to find and book workouts,” said Contreras.
“It was taking the fun out of something we loved. We realized that many of the people we knew shared our same complaints, so we started talking about the ‘what ifs’ and pretty quickly knew we wanted to solve the problem,” added van den Heuvel.