Startup Story # 25: Fitato – One pass to access Fitness in all forms

(L-R) Karan Murada, Pawani Khandelwal and Aditya Srivastava

Everyone wants to get fit yet, not everyone has the motivation to push themselves into a gym or a fitness studio. Sometimes, people may be discouraged to pay the yearly fitness subscriptions when they know that they’ll miss some of the workout sessions.

Fitato is a unique app that lets the user explore different forms of exercise and routines apart from the boring gym visits. It is a one stop pass to go for all the different styles of physical fitness like Yoga, Pilates, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), Zumba, CrossFit and swimming.

Fitato launched in May 2016 and was started by three young entrepreneurs, Karan Murada, Pawani Khandelwal and Aditya Srivastava, who studied at Symbiosis Centre for Management Studies (SCMS). “In India, the fitness industry is very unorganised. We want to make a model that is adaptable to the Indian market,” says Khandelwal. The app works on a single membership that is paid every month. The monthly subscription allows the user to explore different fitness studios around his or her vicinity, book a class and go for the session. A user can go for a different session and to a different studio everyday regardless.

“Fitato is an umbrella for all the different brands and fitness options. So far, we have 1,500 paid users and our focus lies solely on Pune,” explains Murada. As soon as you register with Fitato, you get a call wherein you learn how the app works. With just a seven-member team, the three visionaries do not outsource anything and take it upon themselves to call new users, handle digital media and run the operations of this venture.

Challenges

The founders were working on this idea all through their college life and materialised it much later after overcoming several obstacles. “Getting facilities to trust us was quite a task. At the time, were also quite inexperienced as we are learning too. We had to make ourselves and the startup credible. Convincing our parents about this was another thing altogether,” says Murada. Initially, the team had hired more than 15 members but it wasn’t able to sustain itself later on.

The other challenges lie on the probability of someone taking up a subscription, explains Khandelwal. There is a possibility that users take up the subscription and don’t end up going for the classes. To counter this, the team has resorted to keeping only short term subscriptions.

Key learnings

“We are very careful when it comes to spending money. Instead of hiring, we put in the money to improve the user experience and quality of the overall application,” states Khandelwal. She also mentions that market research was a very important part of building on Fitato.

“It’s all about knowing how to serve a market that is already there. We did not have to create the market for fitness. We just had to find different ways to cater to them,” adds Murada who prefers to put in Rs 1000 into Facebook ads and confirms that all the app downloads have been through social media.

Khandelwal believes that it is all about hit and trial. “There is no formula. It is not necessary that something that has worked for others will work for you as well. It is not as glamorous as it looks. You have to work really hard!”

Goals

“We want to make this a pan-India phenomenon. Fitness should be the best part of the day. We want to see people carrying their work bags as well as their gym bags. It is all about innovating for us!” mentions Murada, as he signs off.

Vijayta Lalwani

Vijayta Lalwani

The young lady from Lagos has always been keen on a career in journalism. Pune365 was hence the right stop. We agree. vijayta@pune365.com
Vijayta Lalwani

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