Startup Mantra: Tracking, supervising fitness regimen, the tech way

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With the onset of winter, one can witness a flurry of fitness enthusiasts on the hill tops in and around Pune city. Same is the case with gyms and fitness clubs where most members just attend a few sessions or never come back, which is a big concern for gym owners. The gym-going population in India is said to be just 0.7 per cent and only 35 per cent of them renew their membership annually. With an aim to change this scenario, three young co-founders Pallav Pandey, Dipak Sanghvi and Anand Pandya came together to build ‘Gymshim’, a fitness technology app designed to help customers and gym owners to streamline day-to-day gym activities and processes. Gymshim is revolutionising the way fitness industry operates and is removing uncertainties from the business to make it a profitable venture for gym owners.

In the beginning…

Pallav, who did his MBA from ISBM in Pune, was working in a real estate company since 2015, where he got introduced to the startup culture. He met Deepak and Anand, all gym and fitness enthusiasts, at a gym in Baner and within next two years began their new venture Gymshim.

“I used to go to the gym five days a week since my college days. While doing my job, I was thinking about doing something in the fitness industry. Soon, my conversations with Deepak and Anand turned into a business idea. Deepak being a gym owner himself and an HNI, shared a common mission of driving people closer to fitness, and with a vision of ensuring growth for fitness centres,” recalls Pallav.

Pallav left his high-paying job and researched more about fitness industry, its needs, problems faced by gym owners, whether it can be solved with technology and can it make gym business more profitable.

Pallav said, “We started brainstorming on how to grow the business and how to attract more customers towards fitness centres. More importantly, we also gave a thought on how to retain existing customers, because that is one of the biggest issues faced by gym owners across India. Our research findings led us to development of a customer relationship management (CRM) software for gyms and fitness centres. We launched this software as our first tech product in 2017, which is now being used by more than 1,200 gyms across India.”

Gym operating software (GOS)

At the core, the Gymshim helps gym owners better manage their day-to-day activities and seamlessly integrate the app towards making better profits for their individual gyms.

Pallav said, “The app assists in keeping a track on all members and their individual daily workout regimes. The members will also get daily notifications which will help them plan their trip to the gym in a more systematic way while giving them motivation to working-out more often. The app can also track the performance of every trainer and collect feedback regarding their individual methods. It is win-win situation for the owner as well as the member. Every member can also be logged on with this and make modifications in daily diet plans to help get in shape faster.”

“With this software, gyms can increase their fresh sales and renewals and daily monitor valid members entering the gym. The CRM software is now being used across India in 45 cities. We have also entered global markets with some gyms in Mauritius using our software. With this initial success, we gained confidence of ensuring increased revenues for gym owners and that we should look for other opportunities too,” he said.

Lyberty membership – flexible and affordable gyms

In GOS there was a feature that was least used by gym owners and customers. The feature empowered customers to share the gym workout videos and sessions with family members. One gym owner from Punjab appreciated this feature which helped Pallav and his team to realise the potential revenue model.

Pallav said, “In October 2021, we started a website and listed all gyms on it. This platform gave an opportunity to customers to utilise their membership term in a guilt-free manner, meaning that they could share their membership and sessions with family members or friends. It made gym membership flexible and affordable to most customers.”

“So far, 70 gyms and more than 5,000 customers from Pune region alone have taken the Lyberty membership benefits. We are growing the gym-goers market significantly through this model. Interestingly, we have observed, that attendance is 77 per cent in Lyberty members as compared to regular members. Also, the regularity in ordinary membership customers is just one or two days per week, but in case of Lyberty membership model, it increased due to gamification and flexibility features. As a result, renewals and fresh sales of gyms have increased by at least 20 per cent,” Pallav said.

“Lyberty membership offer is only available in Pune at present. We are planning a fit festival in December to promote this model further. Next year onward, we would launch this feature in other cities as well,” he said.

Lyberty Saanp Seedi (Beta)

Monthly subscription-based game model to engage fitness enthusiasts and to motivate subscribers to visit gym at least 4 times a week

Rewarding gym-goers if they are consistent and motivating them if they are not

In pilot project, 3.5 days is basic attendance of 350+ subscribers participating

After Beta phase, 1.5 lakh members will have access to Lyberty Saanp Seedi subscription

Front desk conversions

Explaining the regular gym business and how the Lyberty model works, Pallav said, “One-time set-up cost of a good gym goes around 70 lakh of which around 50 lakh is required for equipment. Besides interior designing, deposit and monthly rental expense, electricity bills etc account for operational expenses which run up to 4 lakh per month. With expenses going up every day, the average membership charges are decreasing due to competition to retain and gain new customers. A decade before, a regular membership ticket size was 15,000 but now it has come down to 7,000. Gym industry has so far been unable to setup pricing properly.”

“Any category A gym typically receives 4-5 enquiries every working day. If we consider 25 days a month, then total 125 enquiries are generated at the front desk of the gym. Normally, the highest enquiry conversion ratio is considered as 40 per cent. Even if consider 50 per cent conversion, only 60 customers are onboarded while the remaining are left out. Gyms lose business opportunity with every customer lost. If we consider 8,000 as the average monthly ticket per customer, that is a loss of 4.5 lakh per month to the gym. With Lyberty flexibility, we ensure that at least 20 per cent conversions are increased,” said Pallav.

Corporate tie-ups

Gamification aspect has been the biggest differentiator, said Pallav. He said, “Gym is such a place where one stays fit in a holistic way. You can gain strength, endurance, fitness, and flexibility in a controlled environment which is safest and equipped with good equipment and trainers, etc. Gym-going employees have shown improvement in their attendance, productivity, and team spirit. Keeping this in mind, we have designed customised gamification for corporate clients under which we are offering packages to their employees. Those employees can avail solo sessions (120 for a year) and utilise them anytime during the term. The pricing strategy is such that corporate employees can save up to 50 per cent on their membership fees. We have done a few tie-ups with IT companies too.”

Future plan

Sharing their future plans, Pallav said, “We are focussed on profitability and believe in partnering with gyms to increase their business. Our success mantra has been that we have been successful in preparing sales team of gyms itself to sell our products. Our competitors focussed only on online mode of business, whereas we focussed on offline too. Hence, we want to expand the Lyberty membership model pan-India and reach to every village in the country. Realistically we would be clocking a MRR of 50 lakh with a target of achieving 1 crore. Other revenue streams would include nutritional products sale, gamification, and early utilisation of sessions.”