This health app just surpassed its €150,000 crowdfunding target, can it become the Uber of its sector?

Will you give Fitmo a go?

It’s that time of the year again… It’s getting darker a whole lot quicker and Christmas is just around the corner. It’s hard to find the motivation to get out and go exercise but a new mobile app may well be able to help you. The app Fitmo just surpassed its crowdfunding goal of €150,000 and hopes to be the Uber of its sector.

How will it achieve this? We caught up with Dave Roeloffs who is the founder and CEO of Fitmo to find out more…

1. For anyone who doesn’t know, what is Fitmo?

Fitmo is a mobile coaching platform, being described as ‘the Airbnb of fitness.’ We aim to create a fitness ‘marketplace’, allowing clients to essentially shop for the perfect personal trainer for them. The app allows clients to set realistic fitness goals, with a human connection that provides the accountability and support to motivate them. Clients aren’t the only ones who benefit - coaches can expand their business to include clients from all over the world.

The app’s key features include 24/7 communication with your coach via rich media messaging, elaborate video & audio-guided workouts created by your coach for the gym or running outdoors, and a comprehensive workout plan.

Woman using Fitmo

Source: Fitmo

2. What inspired you to come up with the idea?

Many people struggle to stay in shape. When it comes to health and fitness, the majority of us are not internally motivated and we lack the knowledge when it comes to achieving our health goals. Where to start? Whose opinion to trust? If only those people had access to a personal trainer, however very few can afford that level of support. Well, now they can…

3. What’s your USP?

Fitmo is different because we connect people with health goals to real coaches. We believe that sustainable behaviour change is only achievable with the help of other humans. The sense of accountability that Fitmo users have towards their coach is very different than what people experience with other apps. Personalisation is key and other apps have been designed for larger user groups and are therefore mostly generic. Fitmo is an example of humanised technology and how human interaction is key opposed to other fitness apps which just use data to make decisions for you - so the human element and the intimate coaching is really the thing that makes Fitmo different from other fitness apps on the market.

4. How much does the app cost?

Fitmo Coaches get to determine their own rates - much like a host on Airbnb wanting to rent out their home or apartment. Rates depend on the type of coach, their expertise and years of experience, as well as the goal of the client and the level of support they’re looking for. Service options include 1-on-1 training for maximum personalisation, which gets you unlimited chat support with your coach, a tailored health plan and once a week video chat check-ins (starting from £6 a week) or a lighter option (£3 per week) with set training programs. No matter the type of program, there is always the added personalisation of a 24/7 connection to a certified coach.

5. Who’s been your source of inspiration?

I was on a sabbatical in Sydney after leaving my previous company. I was single and partying hard, I never gave my health a moment’s thought, until I moved in with a friend who was extremely focused on his health and went running every single morning, 6am sharp. He asked me: “Are you joining me for a run tomorrow?” I would usually reply with something like “Are you kidding? No way, I won’t even be in by that time.” He kept asking every day, sometimes multiple times per day, until after 10 days or so, I gave in to stop the harassment. I bought a pair of running shoes and joined him the next morning at 6am. I remember that run so vividly. Sydney is an amazing place. Through the botanical gardens, around the Opera House and over the harbour bridge, the sun coming up and all these good looking, healthy people in their workout gear. It was as if I had stepped into some kind of parallel universe… I looked like a complete idiot, couldn’t even run 3k, but I LOVED it. Not just the experience, but what it did for me afterwards, the positive energy. I was intrigued with the physiological aspects around behaviour change and set out to create a platform where everyone and anyone could find a similar friend to give them the necessary nudge. In short: A kick-up the butt from Down Under, that’s how Fitmo came about.

6. Do you have any advice for someone who may be thinking about starting their own business?

Do not romanticise the idea of having your own startup. Most don’t make it and you will need to make a ton of sacrifices. Having said that, getting something from a napkin drawing to an actual product or service that people love is the best feeling the world.

7. What failures have you had on your business journey? How have you overcome them?

This is not my first company and probably not my last. I have made plenty of mistakes and one thing I can guarantee is that everyone does. It’s all about how you’re able to roll with the punches and in some cases, near death knockouts… You need to get back up, dust yourself off and think ‘How am I going to solve this?” Perseverance is the name of the game.

8. What’s been the best achievement of the company so far?

I don’t think it’s fair to single out just one. The big ones are always a result of many other smaller achievements along the way. One that jumps to mind is finding a great team who are willing to stick by you when things get tough, without them we would for instance never had a product that has been nominated for several prizes and has brand ambassadors like Haile Gebrselassie!

9. Where do you hope, the business will go in the future?

We aim to become the Uber of online health coaching services, and we’re well on our way of becoming THE marketplace where anyone can find their perfect coach-match at affordable rates.

10. Tell us more about your crowdfunding campaign?

We’re one of the first Dutch companies to launch a crowdfunding campaign on the UK’s leading platform Seedrs. Very quickly, we had investors from the Netherlands, the UK, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and many other countries. We’re almost at our minimum funding milestone of €150,000. We’d like to go even further, so we can bring even more updates to the app, partner with more celebrities and focus on more types of people wanting to use the app.

11. How did you get celebrities involved? What do they think of the app?

We partnered with Global Sports Communication (GSC), giving us access to some of the world’s best athletes. Founder Jos Hermens ran the idea of Fitmo by 9-time World Champion Haile Gebrselassie and he loved the idea, as he shares the same ethos as we do at Fitmo. From here, we both decided that Fitmo was the perfect platform for Haile to share his elite running knowledge with the world. Haile says: “In 25 years of international running, I gained a lot of experienced and knowledge about running and now it’s time to share my knowledge with you. I hope you will enjoy running as much as I do and I hope I can contribute a little bit to your running pleasure.

12. Why do you believe human connection is so important when it comes to exercise?

We bridge a gap between traditional personal training and technology - tech alone isn’t usually motivating enough to change behaviour, and personal trainers are too expensive for most. A healthy lifestyle can be hard to maintain when you consider travel, long working hours and being a parent. With a human connection to a real personal trainer, you gain accountability that you don’t get from regular fitness apps. There’s another person connected to you, asking about your progress, helping you along and cheering you on. I believe this is truly the key to the behavioural changes needed to achieve fitness goals.

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