Fitness Business Is All About Access?

    These Nordic startups want to encourage their customers to try new sports – and help fitness studios finding new customers.

    While creating a balanced diet at the beginning of a new year – one could not emphasise exercising more as a part of healthy lifestyle. These two startups are thriving to bring more fitness options for people as well as lowering level of trying new sports at specialized studios.

    For fitness geeks – and the scared ones

    Swedish FitnessCollection is opening the network of fitness studios in Stockholm. With 84 euros (790 Swedish krona), you can get monthly access to 35 studios to have a versatile workout routine combined of for example yoga, crossfit, martial arts and dancing.

    “The fitness studios aren’t always best on marketing and selling their services. Through our platform the companies get new customers in, and the users can get access to several locations close to you to try out new forms of fitness,” says Manesh Kumar, the co-founder of FitnessCollection, who has his background in thai boxing and yoga.

    Photo: FitnessCollection

    Nevertheless, if this business model sounds familiar to you, you might have heard about ClassPass – a US based startup founded in 2013 expanding rapidly in the states and UK – which has gathered over $80 million in funding, makes $60 million revenue and has $500 million valuation. While ClassPass has not yet entered the Nordics, FitnessCollection is thriving to be the number one on-demand fitness marketplace in the Nordics.

    “You can try basic level of some forms of fitness in gym chains as well, but we are more modern by providing access to several locations and professional coaching – and we try to serve the fitness geeks and the one’s who are scared to try new sports, through a high value membership,” says Kumar while comparing themselves to the gym chain SATS Elixia dominating the Nordic market at the moment.

    The growth in the number of studios and fitness boutiques has been a notable trend in Stockholm as in New York or Chicago, so Kumar fully believes in his service that has been backed with 350,000 euros angel round.

    Pivoting to the other direction

    Finnish SportSetter is heading to the other direction while having the same mission with FitnessCollection.

    With SportSetter, the users do not need to commit to trying new activities or venues – instead they can try activities for free or buy passes with exclusive prices. The app pivoted subscription model last summer, and is now concentrating on the Finnish, UK and US market.

    ​Last autumn, SportSetter closed one of the biggest funding rounds of wellness startups in the Nordics – 1 million dollars. Photo: SportSetter

    While SportSetter emphasises the value they bring to the customers through interesting experiences and obviously through bringing sales leads to the fitness providers concentrating – FitnessCollection focuses on providing access to users in the Nordics as well as bringing traction to the fitness studios in the region.

    I guess the crucial question will be for these companies, will the fitness enthusiasts want to lock themselves into one gym after a trial or become more adventurous?

    I bet there will be users for both, especially in the bigger cities.