With an innovative business management and payment processing platform for gyms and fitness studios, Dublin-based start-up Glofox aims to muscle in on the $2bn (€1.77bn) fitness market in the US.
Currently employing a staff of 16 and selling to 410 fitness studios, the two-year-old company is now raising significant funding with a view to setting up a sales office in the US early in the new year.
Initially, Ireland and the UK have been the company’s main markets but Glofox now has its sights on the world’s largest fitness market and its 800,000 fitness studios.
“This year, 65% of new business has been in the US which now accounts for 30% of our business. We aim to increase this to 50% of sales in 2017,” says Glofox CEO Conor O’Loughlin.
A former professional rugby player, he co-founded the company in 2014 with the company’s head of marketing and business development Anthony Kelly.
Originally a web and app design consultancy business, the company changed direction when the founders identified an opportunity in the rapidly growing fitness market.
“We saw a gap for a business management software integrated with a mobile app — which would solve a very big problems in a niche area, ” says Mr O’Loughlin.
The niche market targeted by Glofox involves boutique fitness studios offering yoga, pilates and spinning classes as well as gyms offering group exercise classes.
The problem the company set out to solve was the number of hours spent by managers taking bookings and processing payments and also the amount of time it took gym customers to book and pay.
Glofox’s platform manages the core aspects of fitness business, including membership, and an integrated custom branded mobile app for gym customers to book and pay.
This is offered to gyms for a monthly subscription costing between €80 and €140.
Although there was competition in this space, Mr O’Loughlin says Glofox was the first to offer a custom mobile app to each customer along with business management software.
The first version was launched in May 2014 and began selling to small gyms and leisure centres around Ireland. By the end of the year, Glofox also began selling in the UK.
The founders initially used revenues from consultancy services to fund the development of the software.
In July 2015, they secured €500,000 in funding, half from angel investor Growing Capital and half from Enterprise Ireland which had identified Glofox as a ‘High Potential Start Up’.
Recruiting technical and sales personnel, Glofox increased its staff size from four to 16.
“That allowed us to scale up and get traction in other time zones. We were able to set up a sales team operating around the clock selling into the US,’ says Mr O’Loughlin.
Mr Kelly, the business development head, says sales have been increasing by between 10% and 15% a month and that the company now has 410 customers in 16 countries.
A key milestone this year was the signing of a partnership with Yoga Alliance Professionals, the largest yoga industry body in the UK with over 4,500 members.
”This will allow us to market directly to their members and assist us in gaming market share in the UK yoga studio market,’’ says Mr Kelly.
The company will be exploring the possibility of developing other partnership arrangements in the US and other markets.
Other plans include targeting larger fitness centres with operations in multiple locations, as well as large global chains.
Although operating in a very a competitive marketplace, Mr O’Loughlin says Glofox differentiates itself because of the simplicity of use of its product and because its platform has been specifically designed for fitness studios.
Targeting a turnover of €1.5m in 2017, Glofox is aiming to have revenues of in excess of €5m in 2018.
“Our long-term ambition is to become the market leader in the fitness studio space,” says Mr Kelly.
Provides business management software for fitness studios and gyms