It’s a classic problem. Everyone wants to try new sports, but membership fees to climbing gyms, Crossfit clubs, and yoga studios are high barriers to entry. Helsinki-based SportSetter launched over a year ago to help reduce this friction, providing a “try out whatever sports you like” model that gets new people into gyms and clubs, but without these businesses having to devalue their product in the way that a Groupon does.
SportSetter works by getting users to pay a small monthly fee that gives passes to fitness and wellness activities. Previously the company used an algorithm that matched you with activities it thinks you would be interested in, but they’ve slightly pivoted the product to put users in control. Now users get to choose the exact activities that they want to try, which makes it clearer what people are buying when they see the monthly fee.
To provide users with this selection, SportSetter has now released an iOS app that allows you to choose activities based on your region. I plugged in my profile into the app, and in Helsinki it gave me everything from crosstraining, racquetball, and bouldering gyms to try out. It was a fairly long list.
“The App changes everything. The pivoting features puts users full control of their unlike ever before in fitness, with access to 300+ activities. Fifteen months of listening to SportSetters’ feedback lead to this,” says Niko Karstikko, co-founder of SportSetter.
With the app, Sportsetter also announces it picked up a €200,000 round led by Reaktor Polte, the investment arm of the Helsinki-based business technology firm. When speaking with Karstikko, he mentioned that previously he pictured their next investment to come strategically from outside Finland, but as they were putting together the new SportSetter app they began a cooperation with Reaktor that gave them really tangible support and guidance on the technical side. Previously SportSetter raised €400,000 in angel funding.
The company is currently operating in two regions: their native Helsinki and in New York, which has rougher competition between fitness activities. In New York they’ve counted more than 154 partners, including household names like Crunch Gyms, Reebok Gyms, and others. Additionally they’ve been featured in Men’s Fitness magazine, where they placed #3 in the “2014 Top Fitness Apps”
In the future, Karstikko tells us they plan on adding more social features into the app, allowing users to connect and organize these activities with friends – something that’s already been tested as a MVP on the web app. “80% prefer to do fitness with Friends, however we find that only 40% end up doing so. There is a mismatch between desires and reality. We fix that for users.”