Monday, October 26, 2015
Interview with Jonathan Kohn, Fitspot
Story by Benjamin F. Kuo
Los Angeles is the capital of on-demand apps, for just about anything you want. One of those areas that combines LA's passion for on-demand apps, and its active lifestyle, is Fitspot (www.fitspotapp.com), which brings athletic trainers to you or your local fitness center. We spoke with Jonathan Kohn, the founder and CEO of Fitspot, on what the startup is all about.
What is Fitspot?
Jonathan Kohn: Fitspot is an on demand fitness app, where we send a trainer to you for a flat fee, $59. Sessions take place at your home, or at one of our partner locations. We have about 350, nationally certified, trainers on the platform, all vetted internally by us, and by our mentor network. We have about 45 partner locations in the LA area. The flat rate includes use of those locations during training sessions. We offer six different genres of fitness: Crossfit, strength training, Pilates, boxing, yoga, and stretching.
How did you start the company?
Jonathan Kohn: I'm a former investment banker turned personal trainer. I moved to LA to sell television pilots, and started a fitness business as a college athlete. About five years ago, I realized there was a huge inefficiency in this space, trainers were being underutilized, cost of training was extremely high, there was a lot of attrition, and felt that there was a better way to solve this problem through technology. I started Fitspot about a year ago.
Where are you now in terms of availability?
Jonathan Kohn: We've been out now in the LA market for four and a half months, we've done close to 1500 sessions in that time, very strong retention, and our average customer works out six times a month. Ninety percent of our customers are on packages. Our model is focused on people developing a fitness program. They come to us, establish fitness goals, we take them through a physical assessment, and get a better feel for how their bodies move, and then we set the up on a program. They have the option of using those sessions with different trainers as they choose, and our average customer uses about three different trainers over the course of a month. The idea is that the program information and analytics are all stored in the app itself, so that they can track their progress.
How are you backed and funded?
Jonathan Kohn: Initially we're bootstrapped, and have raised a small amount of capital from family and friends last year. The idea is to get to market and test our proof of concept, and generate revenue, and of course we've now done that We're now looking to grow throughout the LA area and Orange County markets, and start pushing into other markets once we get financing later this year.
What's the biggest challenge in getting the company started up?
Jonathan Kohn: I think the biggest challenge we've seen is getting people familiar with the fact that they can get a training session anytime they want. The traditional model that exists, is that people think training is extremely expensive, and it's a luxury item, when in reality, it's the opposite. It's $59 a session, which is relatively affordable. If you add an additional friend you can essentially split the cost of the session, and the cost drops to $30-$35 per session, which is typical of a group session. The difficulty is convincing people that one on one attention can be had at an affordable price.
What's the biggest surprise you've learned since making your app available?
Jonathan Kohn: I think the biggest is that trainers really want to work. They are excited that they can accept sessions anytime they chose, that they have that ability. From the customer standpoint, they can be up in Malibu for the weekend, and they can get a trainer to come to them, they don't have to necessarily disrupt their routine. Or, a business traveler from New York can plug into our system, and work with a trainer to pick up where they were, and they're not losing those four or five days they're on travel.