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When you go to the gym, your focus is on hitting the weights, getting in your cardio, or whatever else your preferred method for breaking a sweat. In most cases, gyms have not changed all that much over the past few decades—and only a few today really focus on bringing any data or technology into the regular workout routine. Whether due to perceived added overhead expenditures, assuming gym members already have their own fitness trackers, or simply a user mentality stuck in the past, most gyms today offer an experience that is still quite disconnected from our digital lives.  

Smart Health Clubs, an Orange County Founder Institute portfolio company, is a startup making it easy for gyms to add tech features into their membership experiences. They do it through a platform that leverages the equipment gym members already bring with them – their smartphones – combined with other available data sources, including from their own IoT Smart Health weight pins, and cardio data from personal devices like smart watches.

Led by Founder & CEO Praveen Kashyap, Smart Health Clubs offers a white-label branded mobile app experience for gyms, letting them improve member engagement, offer class signups, let members make purchases, and even find and hire new trainers.

There are two pieces to the puzzle that Kashyap and the team at Smart Health Clubs are solving for: first, gym membership retention rates are a constant struggle to maintain, and second, the cost of building a custom app is simply too expensive for mom and pop gyms or small chain gyms. At a glance, building a custom app for a gym will cost a minimum of $35k. That’s a lot of equipment that could be updated, which gyms generally need, versus an app for added value.

The gym market is globally worth $87.2 billion, and more than 6 billion visits to more than 39,000 gyms in the US. Of those visits, there are around 71.5 million members. However, there are also 9 million non-members who attend gyms, too, which is a sore point for retention. So how does a gym create a custom and engaging experience for members that increases retention? Smart Health Clubs offers an all-in-one solution that is affordable and customized for each gym’s needs.

Specifically, the custom app can instantly deliver features like leader boards, gym information, class signups, and even ways for the gym to market and advertise to their members. Leader boards help make working out a more fun and challenging experience, letting members compete against one another. While that is certainly not for everyone, the ability to signup for classes from wherever you are, and to see who is signed up, should do the trick for other members. On top of this, members can also manage their nutrition in the very same app. According to CEO Kashyap,

The All-in-One platform has replaced TCC mobile App along with Fitness and Nutrition Apps. Like other apps, members can check Group Exercise class schedule, use barcode to access the club and receive push notifications. However, the SHC platform goes way beyond the current utility apps and provide members with a complete E-commerce experience. TCC can target advertise and sell all of their classes, services and products.

The primary way Kashyap is using technology is to deliver engagement to gyms, to help them drive better member retention. But when Kashyap set out to create Smart Health Clubs, the mission was to help drive down obesity—and to do that, custom apps emerged as part of the solution.

The nutrition program has helped many members achieve their healthy weight goals. Members can easily follow personalized fitness and nutrition plans developed for them by trainers and dietitians. To make it even easier for members to log their fitness activities, the App automatically syncs with Apple Health kit, Apple watch and MyZone heart rate monitor. All of this is supported by a powerful analytics engine that provides unprecedented amounts of actionable information to the club.

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Graduates of the Founder Institute are creating some of the world's fastest growing startups, having raised over $950M in funding, and building products people love across over 185 cities worldwide.

See the most recent news from our Grads at FI.co/news, or learn more about their stories at FI.co/journey

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