Featured Startup Pitch: Trainerly is bringing the gym *to* consumers through its interactive streaming video workout platform

By Editor October 15, 2013
Leo Akselrud, Trainerly

Leo Akselrud, TrainerlyBy Leo Akselrud, Trainerly co-founder and CEO

Elevator Pitch: Trainerly connects customers to fitness trainers of their choice via interactive, two-way, high-definition video stream for convenient, affordable, and personalized one-on-one or group workout sessions. Clients all over the world can now get fit and stay fit in the privacy and convenience of their own home, office or even hotel room.

Service Description

Trainerly is a virtual marketplace that allows clients across the globe to train and interact directly with personal trainers and fitness professionals in real-time, high-definition video chat. On the flip side, trainers and fitness instructors can now stream and broadcast their classes and workout sessions to a live global audience.

Besides providing real-time high-definition video streaming, Trainerly has a built-in calendar with automated time zone conversion, allowing clients to initiate new sessions and track scheduled sessions. Trainerly also offers a fully-integrated payment processing gateway, direct payment deposits to a trainer’s or business bank account, online messaging capability between clients and trainers, and social media integration, allowing clients to invite their friends to join live training sessions.

Product Description

Trainerly offers a wide variety of fitness activities, including yoga, Pilates, Zumba, plyometrics, aerobics, kickboxing, martial arts, circuit training, boot camps, and calisthenics. You can sign up for either a 30 minute or 60 minute personalized, one-on-one session or customized group workout class. All of the site’s trainers are experienced, certified, and undergo an extensive vetting process prior to going live on the website. Trainerly prices are extremely affordable, especially for group workouts starting from about $10 per class.

Founders’ Story

Russ Berkun and I met several years ago while playing pick-up soccer games in Chicago. As both of us were born in the former USSR, we quickly bonded as soccer runs through our veins. At that time, I was running a profitable healthcare company generating over $1.2 million gross revenue per year. Russ was a successful IT consultant specializing in software architecture and social media integration.

As our friendship progressed, we began to participate in many other sports, including tennis, racquetball, and boxing. Ultimately, we both joined the same local health club to workout and train together. As extremely busy professionals, we had a very difficult time finding the right work/life balance—there simply was not enough time to work, spend time with their families, and stay in shape. As a result, we dedicated ourselves to creating a company where individuals have easy access to effective, rewarding, and productive live video training sessions while saving a considerable amount of time and money.

Marketing/Promotion Strategy

Trainerly is looking to strategically place itself as an online extension of gyms, clubs, fitness studios and training facilities by allowing these organizations to use the Trainerly video chat platform to train their clients who are not able to physically attend an in-class session. Our main goal is to expand the services offered by personal training facilities from local to global with a click of a button.

Furthermore, we provide all gyms, clubs, and studios with all the necessary tools to self-promote their business via social media and email marketing. Trainerly acts merely as a video chat conduit between a fitness studio and the client(s).

Market Opportunity

In the United States, there are over 260,000 personal trainers. There are twice as many trainers that live outside the U.S.

As the fitness sector has steadily gained revenue over the past few years, IBISWorld expects it to expand even further in the next five-year period. Consumers are expected to increase their health consciousness from 2012 to 2017, resulting in more Americans desiring to exercise. Exercise has already become a priority in many Americans’ lives, rather than a leisure activity. Therefore, even as the amount of time spent on leisure drops with an improvement in the employment rate, consumers will still make time for daily exercise.

According to Nielsen, even in the downturn economy the fitness DVD market is thriving. In 2010, total home video sales were down seven percent from 2009, but home fitness videos were up seven percent.

Furthermore, with the advancement of social media marketing channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, people in the United States as well as internationally are connected to each other like never before. According to SocialBakers.com, 53 percent of the entire United States population is currently using Facebook. In addition, new companies such as OpenTok.com or AddLive.com allow users to view live training sessions/videos over the Internet in a single or group environment. This type of live video/audio streaming technology only became available a few years ago.

Target Market

Trainerly is ideal for busy professionals that have difficulty finding time to workout in the gym due to their busy and often times hectic schedules. We also focus on stay-at-home moms who don’t have time to visit the gym because they are busy taking care of their kids. Trainerly works great for road warriors to plug in and workout from their hotel room, as well as out-of-shape individuals who are simply too embarrassed to visit the gym. Trainerly also holds a very strong appeal to athletes, retirees and those rehabbing from muscle or joint injuries.

Our Difference

Although there are several video chat platforms out there, Trainerly offers a customized experience that’s built specifically around your abilities, goals, and personal limitations.

-There are absolutely no subscription plans or membership fees for trainers or clients.

-All sessions are video streamed in high-definition, TV-like quality, so you will literally feel as if the personal trainer is standing right beside you to motivate, guide, and inspire throughout the entire workout session.

-It is compatible with all video streaming devices, including computer, laptop, tablet, iPad, and even smart phones. As long as your device has a webcam you are ready to Trainerly.

-Does not require any additional hardware or software installation as it seamlessly integrates with any web browser (Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Opera).

-We strictly focus on fitness and exercise, so we spend 100 percent of our time dedicated to investing in services geared towards improving your workout sessions.

Business Model

With rapid advancements in computer video and audio technology, along with the fitness industry being one of the fastest growing industries in the world, we feel like the potential for growth is definitely there with the right implementation of our business model.

Trainerly’s revenue model is based on Amazon or Ebay, where our company will only act as a sale facilitator—providing personal trainers (sellers) marketing tools to promote their classes and training sessions, while enabling the participant (the buyer) to make a safe, secure, and guaranteed purchase. Initially, our company will charge 30 percent for each transaction, as the trainer receives a 70 percent ‘take home’ amount. As trainers achieve different milestones on Trainerly, the ‘take home’ amount will increase by five percent to a maximum of 85 percent.

Although we currently do not have any membership or subscription plans, we may explore this revenue option in the future.

Current Needs

To date, Trainerly has been a 100 percent self-funded operation. However, as the business continues to grow, powered by increases in usage and demand, we will look to raise initial Seed funding from interested investors.

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Trainerly logoWebsite: www.trainer.ly

Founders: Leo Akselrud and Russ Berkun

Headquarters: Chicago

Year Founded: 2012

Investors: Bootstrapped

Employees: 5

Facebook: facebook.com/trainerly

Twitter: @Trainerly

Video: vimeo.com/74687189