A global fitness platform from the streets of Cairo
The Jumpsuite team, left to right, Nabil Rostom, Norshek Fawzy and Kareem Abou Gamrah. (Images via Jumpsuite)
We all know working out helps with personal health and productivity. Regularly, we walk into the gym, get on the same machine, lift the same sets of weights, and leave. This is boring. It’s too expensive to get a personal trainer on top of a monthly gym membership and we just do not know how to modify our regular gym routine for impact.
According to global research startup Tracxn’s 2016 Fitness and Wellness report, the US has the largest number of startups in the fitness and wellness industry. However, funding activity in emerging markets in fitness and wellness grew dramatically in 2014-2015.
The highest number of fitness and wellness companies in history were founded in 2015 and investment in the space increased from $5 million in 2014 to $7.7 million in 2015.
Consumers continue to demand solutions to their lack of self-discipline yet they want to find programs that fit perfectly within their lifestyle. This is the now UAE-based startup Jumpsuite comes in.
Jumpsuite is a marketplace for fitness and nutrition programs connecting users to accredited personal trainers and nutritionists worldwide. Users can browse, purchase, follow, and review relevant fitness programs from anywhere in the world.
Jumpsuite licenses out a proprietary software to trainers and nutritionists so that they can develop custom programs for their global clients, which they list on the platform to sell to users.
Some global competitors exist - Virtuagy.com and Bodybuilding.com provide similar services but do not offer an integrated solution for providing custom programs and for interactions between professionals and consumers. Jumpsuite is filling a gap in the market as a hybrid between SaaS and a consumer-facing marketplace, taking a commission from programs created by professionals and sold to clients.
Getting fit in the midst of revolution
The entire project began with bootcamps in the streets of Cairo in 2011.
Jumpsuite cofounders, husband and wife team Nabil Rostom and Norshek Fawzy, recognized the universal need for fitness and a growing business opportunity at the peak of the Egyptian revolution. At the time, they were unemployed, yet experienced in personal training with several fitness certifications.
Rostom and Fawzy decided to hold bootcamp sessions in various gyms around Cairo. “We rented different parts of compounds and gyms and, within one year, expanded to five compounds,” said Rostom. The interest grew to almost 5,000 clients, in one year, who then began to request customized fitness and nutrition plans. To meet this need, the couple created paper-based personalized fitness plans for clients. This service soon grew unwieldy as they couldn’t keep up with demand.
Scaling the business through technology
In late 2013, the cofounders recognized the need to scale their venture by building an easy-to-use software to manage fitness plan curation. After spending a month in Silicon Valley building their platform and networking, they launched The Wellness Log. The team brought on Kareem Abou Gamrah to develop the technical platform and to serve as chief marketing officer to help move the service onto mobile platform. The Wellness Log quickly onboarded nine trainers and nutritionists based in Egypt during the first six months and developed 2,000 customized programs in its first year.
With the success of that platform, the team recognized the appeal of providing online personalized programs and providing a platform for trainers and nutritionists to create useful content and a quality user experience for clients. When The Wellness Log hit 10,000 users, the business model shifted to licensing software to trainers. They then slowly redirected traffic to the new marketplace app, named Jumpsuite. Meanwhile, the team added more fitness professionals who brought their own customers to the platform. Jumpsuite officially launched in February 2016.
How Jumpsuite distinguishes itself in the market
Jumpsuite’s unique interface and business model is what attracts consumers most. According to Abou Gamrah, “You’ll see a huge list of other companies in our sector, none who really deliver our business model,” which the Jumpsuite team plans to expand upon during their next phase of development.
Jumpsuite offers three interfaces; 1) an online proprietary software used by trainers and nutritionists to build custom client programs, view data analytics of client progress, and have full control over their own products and landing page, 2) a mobile app interface that allows clients to follow their program and track their progress, and 3) an online marketplace to navigate, buy, and review programs from hundreds of industry professionals and gyms around the globe, namely in the US and the MENA region.
Over the next 18 months, the Jumpsuite team is focused on product development and add-ons to the platform, including multilingual support, location-based services, and suggested recipes and nutritious grocery lists.
The team will focus on the UAE and Saudi Arabia for market expansion during the next six months. “The UAE and KSA are difficult markets to penetrate,” said Rostom, who plans to penetrate these markets before next expanding to the US. They are currently look for more nutritionists and trainers to use the platform for their programs and hope to reach more professionals across the world.
The team said that word-of-mouth is a powerful marketing tool for Jumpsuite. Consumers and professionals alike have been sharing feedback about their experience using the platform with their networks. The team believes expansion to the UAE and KSA, both with strong expat communities, will help them to spread the word about Jumpsuite beyond the MENA region.
To date, the Jumpsuite platform has over 5,600 users registered. Since the official launch in February 2016, the platform has sold over 200 programs, seeing a monthly growth rate of 20 percent. Users currently purchase programs through the website, but the mobile app is now in review in the App Store and is expected to launch later this month.
Who knew that a few small boot camps in Cairo during the Egyptian revolution would lead a fitness and wellness startup to reach a global audience.