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BookYourGame is a Fitness App to Book and Pay as You Go

The company claims to be, “generating an annualized GMV run rate of slightly more than $1Mn" and suggests, “…that more than 60% of our target segment already wants to pursue fitness, but hardly 1% does.”

BookYourGame (BYG) is a fitness company launched in February, 2016, that brings you their very own fitness app. You can book by the session starting at 50 rupees be it yoga, Pilates, workouts etc.

“BYG’s focus is on the non-core fitness consumer which accounts for >99% of Indian population (who do not go to a fitness center), by making fitness more accessible and convenient” says, Devi Prasad Biswal, Founder and CEO, BYG. BYG was founded by Mr. Biswal and cofounder Avijeet Alagathi.

Mr. Biswal also shares with us how they lost a great team member due to impatience. Read on for more insights from the founder of BYG.

To begin with, what is the market size and opportunity?

The direct Fitness & Wellness industry in India is more than a $10Bn industry, with every sub-segment growing in double digits y-o-y. There is substantial latent demand creating a more than $25Bn opportunity in the sector. Our initial target segment is the Fitness Services and Nutrition Supplement industry which is slightly more than $4Bn, and growing at about 25% y-o-y. We see the fitness services industry growing to a $20Bn market by 2025.

Why did you decide to start BYG?

Over the past decade, we have seen mobile and its apps disrupt and transform many industries, fitness and wellness being one of them. However, accessibility to fitness is still a problem. I understood the challenges of purchasing a fitness membership when a friend, who wanted a 3-month membership was being charged almost the same as I was paying for a year.

Fitness is a motivation-driven activity, and I saw too many deterrents - lack of flexibility and pricing asymmetry, affecting the industry. Fitness providers were facing a unique problem too. While they spent an average Rs. 1,000 in acquiring a new customer, lack of proper analytics led to poor engagement with customers, in turn leading to only 20% renewal rates.

Overall, I saw a huge gap in this booming industry that technology could fill, and also help in terms of increasing fitness penetration. This was the genesis of BYG. Our goal is to increase India’s fitness penetration by 10X over the next five years, by making it more accessible, and enabling positive peer pressure using technology.

Share with us what’s special about this venture. How is it different to the rest?

The fitness technology space globally, and in India has focused on the core fitness consumer by providing them apps to track activity, provide at-home workouts and track nutrition and water intake. Besides, there are also discovery platforms similar to Zomato that aim to bring information to the consumer.

BYG’s focus is on the non-core fitness consumer which accounts for >99% of Indian population (who do not go to a fitness centre), by making fitness more accessible and convenient, a problem currently not being solved by anyone. The realization that we are actually improving the lives of people through our venture is what makes it really special.

On the tech side, BYG is mobile-first, and has a unique business model that connects the whole ecosystem together. BYG has the largest fitness network across five cities, Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Bhubaneswar, with more than 2,400 gyms and studios on platform.

How did you manage to fund this idea?

This venture was started by cofounder Avijeet Alagathi and me with our personal savings, along with a loan to fund the first leg of BYG's growth.

What are/what will be your monetization paths?

Customers pay for the workout session or fitness memberships through the app, and we make a margin on every transaction that happens through the app. Further, we have a SAAS-based CRM for fitness centres that has a subscription fee.

Tell us how the business has grown so far

We have grown rapidly since we started. We currently have more than 17,000 customers having booked more than 10,000 transactions since we launched. We are generating an annualized GMV run rate of slightly more than $1Mn. We have more than 2,400 fitness partners across five cities, with almost 40,000 fitness service offerings. We are also profitable on a unit economic level.

What marketing strategies and plans are in place to grow the business?

Our experience suggests that more than 60% of our target segment already wants to pursue fitness, but hardly 1% does. Our goal is to bridge that gap.

We have a coherent marketing strategy across all platforms with one goal - inspire consumers towards fitness by breaking the basic barriers of accessibility and lack of self-motivation. Our online campaigns are focused around fitness - sharing stories of normal people who made fitness a way of life, we raise awareness of how easy it is to make it a habit.

We also have several modes of offline campaigns - we do regular ‘Fit tests’ at corporates to educate their employees of their fitness scores.

Any challenges faced setting up? Anything unique to your situation?

The biggest challenge while setting up was ramping up 5 cities at the same time. We wanted to take an aggressive (but a high risk) route of launching in 5 cities together to leverage our technology product across the maximum sized market we could. However, launching every city was like launching a new start up. For example, there is a difference in culture in Delhi versus Mumbai, and hence we had to devise different pitches for Delhi and Mumbai simultaneously. Our biggest break was finding the right kind of leaders early in our journey, which led to a strong foundation and entrepreneurship within the company.

Share with us some best and worst memories while running the business

The highest points are when we hear stories about how our product is actually helping people transform themselves through fitness. We have been able to motivate people, who had never worked out, making fitness a daily habit, and that pushes us to innovate further.

For instance, we had this one customer in Delhi who had a fitness goal, but did not know how to approach it. Our app helped her find a fitness centre that was aligned with her goals and she eventually became a long-term member of the gym. Since our inception, we have had more than 3,000 transactions by people who were going to the gym for the first time - something that keeps us going everyday.

There have been a few low points as well. The worst memory till date has been losing one of our best assets due to impatience. We had a strong business development associate whom we were grooming for a bigger role. However, working for a startup comes with challenges on a daily basis, and unfortunately he could not see the bigger picture and threw the towel a little early.

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