With $2M in Funding, ClassPass Plans to Make it Even Easier to Mix Up Your Workout

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ClassPass makes it easy to try out different classes at different gyms across New York City for one flat subscription fee a month.

By Betsy Mikel (Contributing Writer, Women 2.0)

ClassPass is one step closer to democratizing fitness and giving their users more variety in personalizing à la carte workouts. Thanks to a $2 million seed investment, ClassPass plans to enhance their product and build their team.

As people expand their exercise routine beyond the elliptical or their gym’s BodyPump class, more studios have popped up that offer specialized classes. This is great if you’re a die-hard yogi, dedicated spinner or committed to kickboxing 3x a week. The monthly fee for unlimited classes is usually pretty reasonable — if you actually attend several classes a week at one gym or studio.

But what if you like to mix up your exercise routine with a little bit of this and a little bit of that at various studio across town? You’ll have to pay per class, which gets expensive. And if you’re not a member, it’s a hassle to sign waivers and fill out paperwork each time you set foot in a new studio.

That’s where ClassPass comes in. For $99 a month, New York users can try 10 classes at studios all across the city. ClassPass syncs up with the studio or gym’s system so they have each guest’s info when they sign up for a class. As long as spots are open, users can simply walk in and take the class without all the I'm-just-trying-this-once hassle -- and extra expense. This model is just like paying for membership to just one gym a month — except “the gym” is really a network of studios all across the city. Plus, if users enjoy a particular class, they can come back up to three times a month.

ClassPass originally launched in New York as Classitivity as an aggregate of local classes, from fitness to cooking to arts and crafts, and a little bit of everything in between. Two years later, the startup has decided to focus entirely on bringing users a better experience to find and reserve fitness classes according to their own personal preferences. According to TechCrunch, the service has over 65 boutique gyms in the New York area and is getting started in Boston with over 20 studios.

“Our vision has always been to empower people to live a happy, active life,” said ClassPass founder Payal Kadakia. “The vision is truly being realized through ClassPass -- we've now facilitated over 100,000 reservations for fitness classes!”

ClassPass is using the seed funding to build tools to personalize the service based on users' location and fitness style. They are also adding a feature that will show users where their friends are working out so they can feel as if they are part of a larger fitness community. "We want fitness-minded people to be able to meet like-minded individuals; where a thriving community and support system can become established," their website says.

Kadakia says the ClassPass team spent the last year making sure their product fit the needs of both users and studios. Though using data for a more automated experience with improved recommendations is what ClassPass is working towards, the team needed to nail down product details before developing the technology.

“We've been into the details and very hands on -- talking to both sides of the market frequently, facilitating reservations and transactions, gathering feedback,” Kadakia said. “Now that we've raised funds -- and have figured out our model for success -- we'll optimize the process to make the product much more efficient.”

How do you see ClassPass shaking up the fitness industry?

Photo via ClassPlan. Betsy Mikel is a freelance copywriter and content strategist who helps brands, businesses and entrepreneurs tell their stories. A journalist at heart, her curiosity drives her to find something new to learn every single day. Follow her on Twitter at @betsym.