The one thing that your home workouts lack is motivation. Whether it is the environment or the lack of any trainers you just don’t feel it being that close to your bed. If only there was a way to bring that intensity to your home…well now there is thanks to Find Your Trainer (FYT). With their free marketplace, you are given the liberty to actually select your own trainer based on profiles and get started on your workout wherever you find yourself! For anyone who is serious about his or her health will check out this app.
CEO and cofounder David Hung talks with AlleyWatch about their cheap alternative to expensive trainers and how they got to where they are.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We’ve raised $1.5M seed funding to date from strategic angel investors, including Thatcher Bell, Managing Partner of CoVenture, Amol Sarva, and Three Fish Capital.
Tell us about your product or service.
Find Your Trainer (FYT) is a marketplace that makes finding and booking certified personal trainers super-easy. FYT is the best way for consumers to achieve their fitness goals because we’ve turned the traditional personal training model on its head in three main ways. First, training sessions can occur anywhere, whether that be your home, office, building gym, outdoors, or at one of our partner gyms, even if you’re not a member there. Second, while every trainer on our site is certified, experienced, fully vetted, and generally great, we empower the client to choose the trainer they want to work with instead of being randomly assigned one by the gym. Finally, FYT is affordable — our pricing is 30-50% lower than most gyms and we don’t require clients to purchase large and expensive packages.
What inspired you to start the company?
For me, Find Your Trainer is deeply personal. I struggled with health and fitness issues since childhood (eating a Happy Meal after school every day for 2 years probably didn’t help), and this followed me until grad school, when I made the decision to change my life and lost 50 lbs through a combination of exercise and changing my diet. After I moved to New York I was introduced to a personal trainer who helped me recover from a car accident and took my health to a whole other level. These two experiences, combined with my experience working in tech and consumer gave me the inspiration to start Find Your Trainer to make getting in shape with the help of a trainer as easy and accessible as possible.
How is it different?
Although it’s huge, the personal training industry is highly fragmented and not tech-enabled. FYT offers a central destination for people to find, learn about, schedule and pay for personal training sessions, but we’re much more than that. Unlike personal training offered by gyms and fitness studios, we believe the individual should be able to train wherever they want with whomever they want. Our marketplace is curated, and approved trainers are fully vetted to guarantee quality. To ensure that everyone finds the right trainer, FYT recommends matches based on the individual’s goals, lifestyle and personality. We also provide detailed information about each trainer, which can include intro videos, photos, credentials, reviews and more.
FYT is also cost-effective compared to services offered by big box gyms; we don’t require gym memberships or the purchase of large multi-session packages.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
Personal training is a huge market – it’s a $10 billion industry and growing. The vast majority of training currently happens within a gym setting, but we know that there are millions of people who don’t want to, don’t have the time to, or don’t feel comfortable exercising in a gym. There are also more than 250,000 trainers in the US — there are a lot of amazing trainers who don’t want to work for a gym but struggle with the marketing and business aspects of being an independent trainer.
What’s your business model?
FYT takes commission for every session that’s booked through our platform. It’s completely free for trainers to use and sign up and it’s also free for users to do that same – we only take a percentage once a session has been booked and paid for through our site.
Why is this a standalone business and not just a feature for a larger organization focused on fitness?
For the same reasons that marketplaces like Seamless and Uber thrive, personal training can also benefit from a tech-enabled marketplace that provides an easy and trusted end-to-end experience for consumers and trainers. What excites me about FYT is that we are making personal training and fitness much more accessible, comfortable and convenient to people who are either brand new to fitness or haven’t exercised in a long time.
What was the funding process like?
We were fortunate enough to raise our first $500k fairly quickly from a group of investors who believed in our vision and ability to execute. This allowed us to launch the product, learn, react and develop some traction, allowing us to raise our next million.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
All startups go through highs and lows. Marketplaces in particular take time because of the chicken and egg problem of balancing supply and demand. We faced this reality right after our initial launch when we quickly realized that we didn’t have enough trainer selection, nor was the user experience for consumers good enough. I knew we’d figure these issues out, but finding patient investors who believed in us and our vision took some time.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
A combination of a belief in our vision and mission, a disruptive model, our traction to date, and most importantly, the team.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We have some game changing new product features planned, will be continuing our geographic expansion, and hope to make a few key hires and announce some exciting partnerships that will turbo-charge our growth.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Adopt a mindset of rapid and constant testing, learning and improving. Make sure you stay as lean as you possibly can to give yourself as much runway as possible.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
Our near-term goals are twofold. First, to educate consumers that in-home personal training is the easiest and most effective way to achieve one’s health and fitness goals. And second, to establish the Find Your Trainer brand as having the best and most trusted trainers in the industry.
Where is your favorite bar in the city for an after work drink?
With a two year old son at home, I don’t get the chance to go to after work drinks too often anymore. But I love a good cocktail, and Angel’s Share and Pegu Club are two of my favorite cocktail bars in the city.