Sydney-based startup OneFitStop has announced that it has secured seed funding for the finalisation of its technology and initial rollout in the Australian fitness industry. The angel investor that contributed to the seed round is seasoned entrepreneur Lewis Bloch. However, OneFitStop remains tight-lipped about the amount raised.
Founded by David Zeff and Jarron Aizen in 2012, OneFitStop is an all-encompassing cloud-based platform that caters to the interests of both fitness professionals and consumers. For personal trainers, OneFitStop can be seen as a ‘connector’ or marketing platform through which they can promote their services to new clients. The website offers a trainer directory, as well as personalised webpages, which allows trainers to add their existing websites and social media links into their profile. They can also upload photos and videos, create targeted advertisements and collect payments for events, sessions, group session packages, as well as share articles with OneFitStop’s audience.
There are other functionalities on offer such as calendar booking, feedback generation, client communication, payment collection, invoice creation, program and goal creation, as well as client and business performance tracking. On the ecommerce section of the site, consumers can purchase goods like supplements, exercise apparel, fitness equipment and rehabilitation products at wholesale prices. At the moment, consumers are able to read and share articles, view invoices, track their performance and communicate with their trainers about how they have fared with their goals and programs.
The startup soft launched at the Australian Health and Fitness Expo this year and has acquired nearly 1,000 beta testers to date.
According to Zeff, the early stage seed funding will be the first step in the startup’s investment road map. The funds will be used to finalise technological developments ahead of their plans to raise approximately $750,000 in 2015 from multiple investors.
Zeff explains that they could no longer bootstrap the operation and needed to raise capital to finalise the development in order to secure some large offers in the fitness industry.
He also says their angel investor Bloch, a “gifted mature entrepreneur … who is still young at heart”, will bring enormous value to the company, given his experience across 14 industries. Bloch immediately understood OneFitStop’s long-term vision and offered to write a cheque upon first presentation of the platform, according to Zeff.
“Lewis brings advice gleaned from years of experience and his humility, trustworthiness and fondness for our product is incredibly energising,” says Zeff.
Zeff and Aizen had considered other options but felt angel investment was best suited to their needs at this stage, “particularly as the Australian investment climate seems to be geared heavily towards growth and not seed funding.”
“We have had many VC firms express interest in funding subsequent rounds,” Zeff adds.
OneFitStop has been engaging in a number of high-level discussions with well-known bodies in the fitness industry. Based on those discussions, Zeff anticipates the signing of significant contracts valued between $2 million to $5 million over the course of 2015 alone. Further details were not disclosed, though Zeff did reveal that the Australian government recognised OneFitStop’s global potential and has supported the startup with various grants.
By April 2015, the startup expects to formally launch its finalised platform for the Australian fitness industry, wherein 30,000 personal trainers and 3.3 million Australians are active users. OneFitStop will be working closely with key industry bodies, governmental and industry associations to facilitate its market acceptance.
Aizen, who works closely with OneFitStop’s technology development, believes that the platform’s success relies on its ease of use and accessibility: “Our goal is to create an innovative, highly accessible business and communication platform which will be available both online and offline in app form across mobile, tablet and computer mediums.”
“We believe this will create a dramatic improvement in the day to day lives of small businesses across industries where services are dominant.”
This suggests that OneFitStop is not only looking to take a slice of the billion-dollar Australian fitness industry, but has plans to break into other industries and international markets. The vision, then, is bigger than what meets the public eye.
Zeff admits it’s been a hard journey. “There were a few times when either Jarron or myself thought it was over and after every time, we were able to talk to each other and think of a solution out of it. I ultimately believe that if your energy is in a positive direction, you will achieve what you have been working for,” he says.
His advice to startups is to not be afraid of recruiting the services of experts where needed, thinking outside the box when seeking funding and most importantly to persist.
“If you truly believe in your business, to keep at it. Keep at it past the point of giving up,” says Zeff.