Bad Air Quality Spawns The ‘Uber Of Gyms’ In India

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As the world’s most polluted city, it’s not surprising that New Dehli is seeing a boom in fitness startups, and with income levels remaining low, a gym-sharing economy is blooming to bring costly memberships to the masses.

“[People in New Delhi] don’t have public cycling tracks or running tracks, or swimming pools. For them, the only way to get fit is to go to the gym,” Akshay Verma, co-founder of FITPASS told TechNode.

“However, due to high subscription fees and long term contracts, not many people can afford to go to gyms.”

FITPASS is aiming to bring high-cost gym memberships to the masses through a sharing model, which lets users swipe their card at a number of gyms on a plan that costs up to 70 percent less than competing gym memberships.

“We’re the true beneficiary of the sharing economy. As for Uber or Airbnb, one car and room can go to one person. But one gym can be shared with more than 100 people,”

FITPASS takes $15 USD from their customers and pays gyms and fitness studios an agreed usage rate.

“So many gyms are built in India these days, and some of them go bankrupt after failing to attract customers. We give them a solution to attract users to the gym and give additional revenue,” says Mr. Verma.

According to FITPASS, more than 1,150 gyms and fitness studios have joined their partner network. The service costs Rs.999 ($15 USD) a month, also provides a diet plan on their app to registered users to help them achieve their fitness goals.

In December 2015, the World Health Organization declared New Delhi the most polluted city in the world out of 1,600 cities. “Poor air quality [in New Delhi] help gyms and our business,” says Mr. Verma.
Fitpass_team photo

The Fitness Startup Boom In India

Today, India’s fitness services market is estimated at INR 1 trillion ($16.6 billion USD) according to the FICCI-PWC report. India’s growing middle class, which is projected to grow to more than 500 million by 2025, has also contributed to an increased interest in health products and services.

Another monthly multi-studio fitness membership startup, FitMeIn, raised a $100,000 USD in seed round funding from GHV Accelerator in September 2015. Gym discovery portals have also emerged in Bangalore, including Fitternity, which raised a $1 million USD seed round last July, and Gympik, which raised a seed round round of $135,000 USD and an undisclosed amount of pre-A round funding this March from Seattle-based RoundGlass.

 Mr. Verma says. “Inventory is there all the time and we can make a bigger user base. We are a mass-market product.”

Image Credit: FITPASS