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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

Market innovation: Pick ’n’ mix

Launched in New York in 2013, ClassPass targets those who want to cherry pick the classes they attend – and it came to London in March. Co-founder and CEO Payal Kadakia tells Kath Hudson about its swift rise to success

By Kath Hudson | Published in Health Club Management 2015 issue 7
Payal Kadakia
Payal Kadakia

What is ClassPass?
It’s a monthly fitness membership programme that allows people to take classes at different studios and boutique clubs. For US$99 a month, people have access to an unlimited number of classes – but they can’t do the same class more than three times a month.
We’ve built the product for the dabbler who wants variety; our members love ClassPass as it gives them chance to try something new. But if users find the studio that’s their ‘home’ and only want to work out there, then they should pay the full amount directly to the studio.

We integrate with all the studios, so once someone hits ‘reserve’ on our site or app, it goes seamlessly into their portal.

Where did the idea come from?
When I was looking for a ballet class in New York, I became frustrated by the long-winded technology experience. I wanted to create an easy to use, flexible product that would allow people to stay connected to their activities and passions post-college life.

How long did it take to bring the concept to fruition?
I had the idea in April 2013 and it was launched in June 2013: as an entrepreneur you have to act quickly.

Who is your target market?
It was predominantly females, but now we’re starting to see more males enter the market. The age varies from early 20s to mid-40s, with 65 per cent of our users new to fitness.

How often do people use it?
The average for the gym industry is five or six times a month, but we’re higher than that. We don’t reveal our exact numbers, but we’ve done five million reservations across our platform since we launched in 2013, all driven by social media and word of mouth.

What challenges did you face when launching ClassPass?
You need to engage both sides – the studios and the customers – and they need to work in conjunction with each other. A lot of it was just finding the right product that would sell on both sides. In fact it was easy to sell to the studios, because the concept works well for them: they have excess capacity they want to fill. From a customer perspective, many people fear entering a new place and trying a new workout – we’ve taken away that friction.

How do you choose which clubs to work with?
We look online at the photos they present, the sort of workouts they offer, and the reviews and articles about them. The great thing about our platform is that we collect ratings and reviews right away and get feedback in real-time, so we know straight away if something isn’t on par with the ClassPass brand. Our ambassadors go to classes, but we also trust our users to feed back to us.

What is your studio empowerment programme?
Our belief is that fitness isn’t just about going to the gym, so our focus is on exploring and creating a way for people to connect with whatever moves them. To create that connection, our focus has been on building a strong network of partners – and with that in mind, we actually invest resources in our studios.

Through our studio empowerment programme, we’re now providing pre-payments to select studios to help them open their next location, creating more successful studio owners and more opportunities for people to attend classes.

So how does ClassPass make money?
Our members pay us a monthly membership fee. From this, we have various contracts with each studio in our network, and we make a payment to them each time we bring an attendee to one of their classes.
We’re also working on other revenue streams, as we believe there are a lot of services we can provide given the high levels of engagement we have with our customers.

How has it been funded?
So far we’ve raised US$54m. Early on we raised money through friends and family, but as we started getting more traction we attracted more angel investors. We’ve partnered with great investors including General Catalyst to ensure we have the financial resources to properly achieve our ClassPass vision.

How do you pitch the business to potential investors?
In the beginning, a lot of it was just based on my drive and my vision: I really wanted to get people working out and investors could see my passion. But the great part is that I barely have to pitch now, because they’ve usually heard about us already.

By the time we started raising large amounts of money, the numbers spoke for themselves. We significantly surpassed our forecasts. We used to show our projections and people would tell us there was no way we’d meet them. It was amazing to be able to go back and say we’d whipped through them and out the other side.

There aren’t many companies that can change behaviour, but our product has changed the way people live. Everyone can latch on to and understand that.

Why do you think ClassPass has been so successful?
It’s a product that forces people to live a better life. Everyone feels better when they exercise, and we’ve created a product that really makes people feel excited about working out.

It’s not even to do with losing weight, or vanity. It’s about finding time for yourself and finding that mind-body connection. That’s what keeps the ClassPass team focused and driven every single day.

How many clubs do you have in your portfolio now?
We have over 500 in New York – including Flywheel, Pure Barre and Exhale – and more than 5,000 across the world. We’re currently in 35 cities in the US, Canada and the UK.

Our latest launches were in London, UK, and Toronto, Canada, in March. It’s predominantly the same product but we’ve launched with a commitment model in London, so people sign up for three months or six months.

London and Toronto were obvious choices for roll-out, because we want to make sure we’re in all the hubs of the world. Within five years we’ll be in every major city. Next we’ll go to Australia, as well as parts of Asia and Brazil.

There’s still a lot of growth potential in New York too: we’re now beginning to work with the big box gyms, as well as trainers who have individual studios.

What are your short- and long-term goals for ClassPass?
We’re constantly evolving the product and the supply that we have, and are working on new experiences to introduce to the platform.

My mission for the company is to make the world more right-brained: I want people to connect with their passions, to have empathy and to live again. Fitness is a great way to get people going.

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
ClassPass has a network of over 5,000 clubs across the world, in the US, Canada and the UK
ClassPass has a network of over 5,000 clubs across the world, in the US, Canada and the UK
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/253665_716033.jpg
US$54m in funding and 5,000 clubs globally – ClassPass lets users cherry pick classes and clubs
Payal Kadakia, Co-founder and CEO ClassPass ,ClassPass, Payal Kadakia, New York, boutique
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Training
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Editor's letter
The pandemic has disrupted everything and as businesses across the leisure industry reshape themselves to survive and thrive, new competition is emerging that will change the sector
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Jo Farrier, head of commercial and resources at Active Northumberland, talks about how a strategic partnership with Technogym is changing public perceptions of council leisure facilities
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Everyone’s talking about
With local authority facility management companies and councils under financial pressure due to the pandemic and issues emerging around health inequalities, will we see a trend towards councils insourcing the management of facilities? Kath Hudson rounds up views
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Latest News
Rainer Schaller, founder of budget gym megabrand McFIT, says that the global fitness industry will ...
Latest News
The most high-risk and controversial Olympics of modern times begin today (23 July) in Tokyo, ...
Latest News
Further research into the levels of positive COVID-19 cases among those to have visited fitness ...
Latest News
Planning approval has been granted to what is set to become one of the first ...
Latest News
Digital fitness content provider, Wexer, is launching a new wellness resource on its connected Web ...
Latest News
Leisure-net has revealed plans to transform its active-net business event from an annual face-to-face gathering ...
Latest News
F45's IPO on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) has revealed a strong appetite from ...
Latest News
A large health club plays a major role in tech giant Microsoft’s recently opened R&D ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: A new world for memberships
During lockdown clients have had more time to self-reflect than ever before. As a result, many are prioritising mental health and incorporating activity into their day to improve overall wellbeing.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: FunXtion enhance interactive workouts with the launch of Virtual Player
Digital meets personal with the new Virtual Player from FunXtion, experts in interactive fitness, which allows clubs to stream and schedule world class virtual classes anytime, providing an interactive workout experience on the gym floor, functional area or directly to members at home via an app.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active bolsters Everyone on Demand and enters second year with five new partnerships
Everyone Active has signed a number of new deals which will see the operator strengthen its digital product offering, Everyone on Demand.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active generates £342m in social value
Award-winning leisure operator Everyone Active generated £342million in social value at its sites across the country in 2019/20.
Company profiles
Company profile: Les Mills UK
For over 50 years Les Mills has been leading the way in fitness to inspire ...
Company profiles
Company profile: FIBO Global Fitness
FIBO Global Fitness is the leading international trade show for fitness, wellness & health....
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Safe Space: Changing concept
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Exercise equipment
Power Plate: Exercise equipment
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
Skincare
Sothys: Skincare
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire County Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
18-19 Sep 2021
Locations worldwide,
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
13-14 Oct 2021
Online,
Diary dates
04-07 Nov 2021
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates

features

Market innovation: Pick ’n’ mix

Launched in New York in 2013, ClassPass targets those who want to cherry pick the classes they attend – and it came to London in March. Co-founder and CEO Payal Kadakia tells Kath Hudson about its swift rise to success

By Kath Hudson | Published in Health Club Management 2015 issue 7
Payal Kadakia
Payal Kadakia

What is ClassPass?
It’s a monthly fitness membership programme that allows people to take classes at different studios and boutique clubs. For US$99 a month, people have access to an unlimited number of classes – but they can’t do the same class more than three times a month.
We’ve built the product for the dabbler who wants variety; our members love ClassPass as it gives them chance to try something new. But if users find the studio that’s their ‘home’ and only want to work out there, then they should pay the full amount directly to the studio.

We integrate with all the studios, so once someone hits ‘reserve’ on our site or app, it goes seamlessly into their portal.

Where did the idea come from?
When I was looking for a ballet class in New York, I became frustrated by the long-winded technology experience. I wanted to create an easy to use, flexible product that would allow people to stay connected to their activities and passions post-college life.

How long did it take to bring the concept to fruition?
I had the idea in April 2013 and it was launched in June 2013: as an entrepreneur you have to act quickly.

Who is your target market?
It was predominantly females, but now we’re starting to see more males enter the market. The age varies from early 20s to mid-40s, with 65 per cent of our users new to fitness.

How often do people use it?
The average for the gym industry is five or six times a month, but we’re higher than that. We don’t reveal our exact numbers, but we’ve done five million reservations across our platform since we launched in 2013, all driven by social media and word of mouth.

What challenges did you face when launching ClassPass?
You need to engage both sides – the studios and the customers – and they need to work in conjunction with each other. A lot of it was just finding the right product that would sell on both sides. In fact it was easy to sell to the studios, because the concept works well for them: they have excess capacity they want to fill. From a customer perspective, many people fear entering a new place and trying a new workout – we’ve taken away that friction.

How do you choose which clubs to work with?
We look online at the photos they present, the sort of workouts they offer, and the reviews and articles about them. The great thing about our platform is that we collect ratings and reviews right away and get feedback in real-time, so we know straight away if something isn’t on par with the ClassPass brand. Our ambassadors go to classes, but we also trust our users to feed back to us.

What is your studio empowerment programme?
Our belief is that fitness isn’t just about going to the gym, so our focus is on exploring and creating a way for people to connect with whatever moves them. To create that connection, our focus has been on building a strong network of partners – and with that in mind, we actually invest resources in our studios.

Through our studio empowerment programme, we’re now providing pre-payments to select studios to help them open their next location, creating more successful studio owners and more opportunities for people to attend classes.

So how does ClassPass make money?
Our members pay us a monthly membership fee. From this, we have various contracts with each studio in our network, and we make a payment to them each time we bring an attendee to one of their classes.
We’re also working on other revenue streams, as we believe there are a lot of services we can provide given the high levels of engagement we have with our customers.

How has it been funded?
So far we’ve raised US$54m. Early on we raised money through friends and family, but as we started getting more traction we attracted more angel investors. We’ve partnered with great investors including General Catalyst to ensure we have the financial resources to properly achieve our ClassPass vision.

How do you pitch the business to potential investors?
In the beginning, a lot of it was just based on my drive and my vision: I really wanted to get people working out and investors could see my passion. But the great part is that I barely have to pitch now, because they’ve usually heard about us already.

By the time we started raising large amounts of money, the numbers spoke for themselves. We significantly surpassed our forecasts. We used to show our projections and people would tell us there was no way we’d meet them. It was amazing to be able to go back and say we’d whipped through them and out the other side.

There aren’t many companies that can change behaviour, but our product has changed the way people live. Everyone can latch on to and understand that.

Why do you think ClassPass has been so successful?
It’s a product that forces people to live a better life. Everyone feels better when they exercise, and we’ve created a product that really makes people feel excited about working out.

It’s not even to do with losing weight, or vanity. It’s about finding time for yourself and finding that mind-body connection. That’s what keeps the ClassPass team focused and driven every single day.

How many clubs do you have in your portfolio now?
We have over 500 in New York – including Flywheel, Pure Barre and Exhale – and more than 5,000 across the world. We’re currently in 35 cities in the US, Canada and the UK.

Our latest launches were in London, UK, and Toronto, Canada, in March. It’s predominantly the same product but we’ve launched with a commitment model in London, so people sign up for three months or six months.

London and Toronto were obvious choices for roll-out, because we want to make sure we’re in all the hubs of the world. Within five years we’ll be in every major city. Next we’ll go to Australia, as well as parts of Asia and Brazil.

There’s still a lot of growth potential in New York too: we’re now beginning to work with the big box gyms, as well as trainers who have individual studios.

What are your short- and long-term goals for ClassPass?
We’re constantly evolving the product and the supply that we have, and are working on new experiences to introduce to the platform.

My mission for the company is to make the world more right-brained: I want people to connect with their passions, to have empathy and to live again. Fitness is a great way to get people going.

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
ClassPass has a network of over 5,000 clubs across the world, in the US, Canada and the UK
ClassPass has a network of over 5,000 clubs across the world, in the US, Canada and the UK
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/253665_716033.jpg
US$54m in funding and 5,000 clubs globally – ClassPass lets users cherry pick classes and clubs
Payal Kadakia, Co-founder and CEO ClassPass ,ClassPass, Payal Kadakia, New York, boutique
Latest News
Rainer Schaller, founder of budget gym megabrand McFIT, says that the global fitness industry will ...
Latest News
The most high-risk and controversial Olympics of modern times begin today (23 July) in Tokyo, ...
Latest News
Further research into the levels of positive COVID-19 cases among those to have visited fitness ...
Latest News
Planning approval has been granted to what is set to become one of the first ...
Latest News
Digital fitness content provider, Wexer, is launching a new wellness resource on its connected Web ...
Latest News
Leisure-net has revealed plans to transform its active-net business event from an annual face-to-face gathering ...
Latest News
F45's IPO on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) has revealed a strong appetite from ...
Latest News
A large health club plays a major role in tech giant Microsoft’s recently opened R&D ...
Latest News
KA Leisure has appointed industry veteran Malcolm McPhail as its interim chief executive. McPhail, who ...
Latest News
Aspria Holdings, owner of eight premium wellbeing clubs in Germany, Belgium and Italy, has entered ...
Latest News
Vulnerable young people will be given opportunities to take part in sport and physical activity ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: A new world for memberships
During lockdown clients have had more time to self-reflect than ever before. As a result, many are prioritising mental health and incorporating activity into their day to improve overall wellbeing.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: FunXtion enhance interactive workouts with the launch of Virtual Player
Digital meets personal with the new Virtual Player from FunXtion, experts in interactive fitness, which allows clubs to stream and schedule world class virtual classes anytime, providing an interactive workout experience on the gym floor, functional area or directly to members at home via an app.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active bolsters Everyone on Demand and enters second year with five new partnerships
Everyone Active has signed a number of new deals which will see the operator strengthen its digital product offering, Everyone on Demand.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active generates £342m in social value
Award-winning leisure operator Everyone Active generated £342million in social value at its sites across the country in 2019/20.
Company profiles
Company profile: Les Mills UK
For over 50 years Les Mills has been leading the way in fitness to inspire ...
Company profiles
Company profile: FIBO Global Fitness
FIBO Global Fitness is the leading international trade show for fitness, wellness & health....
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Safe Space: Changing concept
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Exercise equipment
Power Plate: Exercise equipment
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
Skincare
Sothys: Skincare
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire County Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
18-19 Sep 2021
Locations worldwide,
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
13-14 Oct 2021
Online,
Diary dates
04-07 Nov 2021
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
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