Tell us about yourself and your background
A fitness enthusiast and a go-getter by nature, entrepreneur Neha Motwani is the founder and CEO of Fitternity, India’s first and largest discovery and booking platform for fitness services.
Fitternity combines information, e-commerce and hyper local search that allow users to find, book and buy over 30,000 fitness services and products across Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Pune.
An idea that was born from Neha’s weary experience as she set out on her fitness journey, has now blossomed into a platform that has everything you possibly need to achieve your fitness goals. Founded in 2014 and within a mere two years of existence, Neha has led this unique portal to successfully create a community for fitness enthusiasts, that is growing bigger and better each day, with users touting Fitternity to be India’s best fitness search engine. Her mission for Fitternity is to make fitness easy, accessible and affordable for Indians across classes, ages and interests.
Neha’s corporate experience, along with her MBA, has helped her combine her passions for fitness and entrepreneurship to create this start up that has already received two rounds of funding and is growing at a rapid pace. Constantly innovating, championing collaborations with like-minded brands, building a passionate team and driving great value for Fitternity’s partners, Neha Motwani has pioneered a product that concentrates on the organization and the possible streamlining of the fitness industry in India. Fitternity aims to keep learning and evolving the business to suit customer needs.
Before Fitternity, Neha worked with Aon Hewitt in talent and organisation consulting space and has over five years of experience across HR and Risk Consulting. Neha holds a Bachelor’s in Management Studies from Narsee Monjee College of Commerce & Economics and has a MBA from Wellignkar Institute of Management & Research.
Why did you set up the company? / What drove you to become an Entrepreneur?
Fitternity is a result of my weary experience of exploring fitness options. Fitternity is India’s biggest online fitness discovery and booking platform. It first functions as a directory for different kinds of fitness forms, with in-depth information like detailed descriptions, list of amenities at the respective centre, kind of fitness options provided, images and more. Added to this are services like healthy tiffins and personal trainers along with soon-to-be-launched categories of dieticians and nutritionists. These features allow our users to explore holistic fitness with over 8,500 listings for them to view across Mumbai, Delhi, Pune and Bangalore.
The platform then facilitates experience by allowing users book a free trial or schedule a VIP session to try the services and know whether it suits them. Keeping with our customer first approach, our dedicated and well-equipped Fitness Concierge assists them throughout this journey.
Finally, the platform becomes the best avenue for our customers to buy the fitness memberships of their choice. With easy payment options (credit/debit cards, netbanking, wallets, etc.) and clean invoicing, customers enjoy the convenience and accountable facility. We have also offered customers a hassle-free EMI payment option to allow them to buy memberships comfortably.
Our motto stems from these points to become: Explore – Try – Buy
To sum it up you could call us India’s biggest fitness services aggregator and buying platform for all fitness services.
The website was launched in early 2014 and after multiple business model pivots evolved into:
– A hyper-local online discovery and booking platform providing trials and membership discounts
– Holistic fitness aggregator including working out (gym, yoga, zumba, marathon, crossfit, etc.) and eating healthy (healthy tiffin services, healthy snacks, beverages etc.)
– India’s largest fitness marketplace with 8,500 listings across Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi & Pune that has helped more than 100,000 customers access different fitness options
I have always been one to make work fun. I thoroughly enjoyed my stint in the corporate world but always wanted to explore the fun of starting something of my own. I decided to jump into entrepreneurship when the idea of Fitternity started taking shape. I have always loved fitness (in any form) and have always yearned for a smarter way to explore fitness. Fitternity was that answer I needed to meet my personal and professional goals.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving your success?
Start-ups are riddled with challenges. Mainly because the good ones try to solve a problem and fill gap that exists in the industry. Fitternity’s journey was no different. When we launched our beta website early in 2014 there wasn’t a single startup / model in the space.
Cut to present day there are over 45 startups operating in this segment. While some decided to follow our business model, others have brought the ClassPass model to India. There are four to five start-ups springing up every month since the environment has become favourable for new entrants in the space. Hence competition does seem to be the first challenge we face.
The biggest and perhaps classic challenge we face as aggregators is balancing demand (fitness consumers seeking fitness) and supply (fitness service providers – gym/studio owners & trainers). Who’s problem are we solving first? Which problems are larger? How to fortify one side of the market? How to cater to demand with short supply and generate value to the supply side without having enough demand?
These challenges inherently emerge from our need to change the buying and consumption behavior in this category. We have been able to address this challenge effectively over our journey and have been able to find the right balance by giving customers great options in their vicinity and Q connecting suppliers to new customers. We are now moving on to scaling this model effectively across markets
By virtue of being a dynamic tech startup some challenges we face: recruiting and building a high performing team across different locations along with dynamically adding verticals within our business model and constantly running experiments on new business lines while keeping track of current growth and progress.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
Impacting people’s lives positively with Fitternity is perhaps the greatest reward and achievement
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
Over the years, many people have inspired me in different ways. Steve Jobs and Peter Thiel’s work and books have opened up my perspectives on building a business and impacting lives.
How do you balance your work life and home life?
It is very difficult to have a life outside of work given the long hours we clock at Fitternity. De-cluttering and compartmentalizing has helped me with setting priorities. It is not possible without a strong support system of family and friends.
What advice do you have for women starting out on their own?
Believe in what you wish to achieve and just go for it. Ask yourself what worst could come out of experimenting / failing at the first attempt? But ensure you do your homework – research, study, live and breathe your idea.
Can you recommend any organizations or networking groups that have particularly helped you on your journey?
Networking is important, especially staying connected to the community you wish to impact. There are a lot of startup events and groups one should look up which are relevant to the business you are building.
If you could ask for one thing to help propel your business what would it be?
Fitness becomes a priority goal for everyone!
What does the future hold for you?
It’s been a great journey so far. Our business has quadrupled in the last 6 months – with monthly unique visitors, transactions and sales of fitness memberships growing at 30% every month.
Over 100,000 users have booked trials and purchased memberships through Fitternity across Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Pune. We operate on a strong 30% conversions ratio on trials thereby generating great value for service providers. Engagement / repeat rate is going strong at 25% where users access Fitternity again to engage with service providers, discover other fitness services (like MMA & Kickboxing, functional training, healthy tiffins, kids fitness, healthy snacks and beverages.)
We are planning to venture into more cities in the next 3-6 months. Currently our operations are in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore & Pune. We are looking to add Ahmedabad, Hyderabad & Chennai in the list.
Our free mobile app is also going to be out within March 2016 across iOS and Android app stores which will enable users to book workout sessions in a ‘pay-per-use’ format where users will now be able to combine different forms of workout in their routine and not miss their workouts if they’re travelling to a city we’re present in.
Founded by Neha Motwani in 2014, Fitternity is a one-stop-destination offering users over 15,000 fitness services along with healthy snacking options. This portal not only lets you discover services but also enables you to book trials and subscriptions, connect with like minded people, avail of detailed information including photos, videos, rate cards and user reviews and avail of exciting offers. With a mission to make fitness easy, accessible and affordable for Indians across classes, ages and interests, Fitternity is the only fitness focused search platform, concentrating on the organization of the fitness industry in India. Continuously evolving to suit customer needs, Fitternity closely with all vendors who believe in fitness – from leading fitness centers like Gold’s Gym, Snap Fitness, Anything Fitness, Mickey Mehta Wellness, Reebook Fitness (network of 10,000 fitness options) to stand alone dance studios and even industry stalwarts such as Sucheta Pal, Kaizzas Capadia and Abbas Ali among others. Fitternity makes all of this accessible under one roof. With a keen eye on product development, marketing and pan-India expansion, Fitternity has also raised pre-series a investment of USD 1 million led by Bengaluru-based Exfinity Venture Partners, a fund formed by industry veterans like TV Mohandas Pai, Balakrishnan V, Girish Paranjpe and Deepak Ghaisas.