start-ups

Fitness portal wants to muscle into new territories

Aims to spread reach into Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman after building up bulk in Dubai

16:12 March 30, 2018
Ben Samuel

Dubai

Think it’s challenge to have a balanced lifestyle and attain your fitness goals? A recently launched portal hopes to help you find that balance and make you attain it if you are determined.

Fitness enthusiast Ben Samuel, founder and CEO of online fitness and wellness finder Fit On Click, found that there were no professional websites that had a listing of fitness centres and gym facilities in the UAE.

“It was back in 2015 when I landed in Dubai and was looking online for a gym near BurJuman and I could find only two – Gold and Fitness First. I signed a six-month contract with Fitness First. Three weeks later, I came to know that there were four gyms in and around my building,” he said.

From his experience, he learnt that most gyms are not online, and they don’t have a website or Facebook account.

“I asked the gym owners why you don’t have a website or a Facebook account. They said that they have invested so much in the infrastructure and didn’t have the money to market their brand. That is when I decided to come up with a website to list all the gyms in the UAE on one platform, search place by place, or area by area,” he said.

Fit On Click’s aim is to make the residents remain fit and follow a healthy lifestyle.

After launching the fitonclick.com portal in September 2015, Samuel helped users discover fitness, wellness and sports around them under various categories such as gyms, personal trainers, nutritionist, group fitness class, crossfit, pilates, sports clubs, spa, yoga, dance, swimming, kickboxing, marathon, to name a few.

He said that the portal is currently the only fitness-focused platform in the UAE that provides detailed information like photos, videos, rate cards and user reviews on all fitness related services.

Initially, he said, the gyms were not ready to invest and they used to ask how it would bring in footfalls.

“I used the free trial sessions to bring the footfalls into the gyms and turn them into memberships. My wife and I used to go to all the gyms to convince them. We started with 25 gyms. Now, we have 2,250 listed gyms on the website,” he said.

The start-up makes money through businesses and not through customers. Businesses pay 10 per cent of the fee when a membership is booked through the website. A customer gets between 15 and 20 per cent discount by booking through the portal.

He said that there are still 25 per cent more gyms which Fit On Click hasn’t capitalised on yet. Convincing businesses to list on the website has been the biggest challenge.

Later, he came to find out that there is a good scope for personal trainers due to people ’s busy lifestyle.

Now, the portal has 1,800 personal trainers listed. Some are freelancers and some are REPs-certified trainers.

REPs is an independent, public register which recognises the qualifications and expertise of fitness professionals in the UAE. The register was initiated and established by the Dubai Sports Council and is part of a global network of fitness registers.

He said the ‘Find My Trainer’ service offers certified personal trainers to your doorstep and allows you access to trainers at top gyms and studios in UAE with or without a membership.

“We get around 17,000 unique Dubai visitors coming into the portal. Our next goal is to launch it in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah,” he said.

The third service the portal launched was the “Healthy Food Finder” by partnering with 38 fit meal plan providers in the UAE to shed weight and get the right mix of nutrients throughout the month.

The food finder option is available right now only in Dubai. Samuel said that the plan is to launch it in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah as well.

1n 2017, Fit On Click saw a 300 per cent year-on-year growth in revenues.

“We also have offline businesses such as corporate fitness and wellness programmes. Because we have so many personal trainers, we tell corporates that we can train your staff in fitness and wellness programmes and give a report. That has picked up very well in Dubai and we work with corporates such as Tecom Group, Dubai Islamic Bank and Aster Healthcare,” he said.

The advantage of Dubai, he said is that the government is taking the initiatives of spreading health, fitness and lifestyle change. The next step for the start-up is to spread wings into Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman.

Apart from this, he said that the company does corporate events involving cricket and football. There are 16 brands and they play against each other.

“It is a great exercise for us. Corporates are ready to invest in their employees and at the end of the day, it is their own staff,” he said.

The start-up has seven people and is looking for Dh1.5 million funding for growing in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah and for hiring people.

“We have raised around Dh400,000 from families and friends. We have healthcare firms ready to invest in the portal and if the strategy clicks, it will give a new holistic approach to how the business can be run,” he said.

“Our new website, to be launched soon, will be showcasing sports and fitness events where people can buy tickets. We are also building an app that will be live in the fourth quarter of this year,” he said.

Company profile

Name: Fit On Click

Sector: Fitness and wellness

Year founded: 2015

Founder: Ben Samuel

Funding: Dh400,000

Employees: 7