Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check h Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check him out on Google+.
If you have a penchant for fitness classes but often find yourself in new places, or you’re a fitness instructor looking to tap new business, SweatGuru could be what you’re looking for.
SweatGuru has recently launched to the public, although at the time of writing is only open to users in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco. However, there is plenty of scope for the fledgling startup to open to new markets as interest grows, and we should start seeing its presence in more markets in the not-too-distant future.
In a nutshell, SweatGuru is a marketplace for fitness classes and other health-based social activities, and allows anyone to organize, search and book fitness classes online.
How it works
First up, you simply enter your keyword(s) – ‘spinning’, ‘running’, ‘bootcamp’ etc – and your desired location. Now, the location could be city-wide, or a more specific area such as borough or district.
You’ll then see a stream of results based on your criteria, which can be sorted by name, distance or time.
You can view class information and sign-up (and pay) directly through SweatGuru…
…or view the studio profile including calendar, instructors and rates.
To progress to the booking stage, however, you will need to log-in to SweatGuru – and for this you have four options: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Google+. There appears to be no way of signing-up through good old-fashioned email, which is a shame.
That said, you do actually still have to provide your email address once you’ve indicated which of your social profiles you wish to use. So on the one hand SweatGuru looks to expedite the sign-up process by using existing social networks, but then demands your email address anyway.
That small issue aside, SweatGuru does actually offer a neat platform for instructors and fitness centers looking to market their wares. It’s easy to set locations, schedules, start/end dates and times, and payment options.
While creating a business profile and listing classes on SweatGuru.com is free in itself, there is a monthly fee starting at $19, which essentially gives businesses (or freelancers) access to an out-of-the-box e-commerce platform for one to twenty employees.
For consumers, they have a handy cloud-based account to track all their classes, and they can even earn points to redeem against ‘prizes’ at a later point.
Of course, there are other similar platforms out there – including Fitist. But a SweatGuru spokesperson tells us that it actually sees its biggest competitor as MindBody Online, a company specializing in backend scheduling, payment processing, and CRM for fitness firms.
“We offer both the backend solution in a simple, easy to user interface for fitness pros as well as the marketing tools that our customers have been asking for. We also provide consumers with a platform to track and manage their entire fitness profile in one place meaning they have one log-in and one central place to explore, discover, book, pay for, share and manage fitness classes online.
There is no other solution offering (such a) complete end-to-end solution.”
So SweatGuru is appealing to two facets of the keep-fit sphere – instructors/businesses and consumers. And given the market is thought to be worth $26 billion in the US alone this year, there is a lot of money up for grabs, though admittedly it would be great to see this service roll out to more markets.
“We will start by growing our network in San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles, and look forward to expanding to other markets soon,” says Jamie Walker, SweatGuru co-founder and CEO.
SweatGuru is open for business now in the three aforementioned conurbations. Meanwhile, check out the official promo skit below, or have a read through our take on what the future may hold for gyms.
Feature Image Credit – Shutterstock
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