EconomyFinancialThe 3 Mexican entrepreneurs who get you in shape...

The 3 Mexican entrepreneurs who get you in shape without going to the gym

Before the pandemic, Eduardo Mussali ran a chain of boutique gyms called Comando . Only some people, with high purchasing power, could enjoy personalized classes and timely follow-up with certified instructors. However, both the Covid-19 and the digital acceleration made the young man rethink his bets.

In his eyes, now the future of training was in the digital sphere, so he sold the chain of gyms and together with Andrea Illanes and Iddar Olivares founded wOS in January 2021. It is a fitness platform that emerged with the idea of offering High quality training by certified instructors, but affordable in price.

wOS currently has more than 35,000 active users. Its rapid growth influenced the Mexican startup to close its first round of pre-seed investment for 1.2 million dollars, led by the New York fund Noemis Ventures , as well as by YCombinator, one of the most prestigious startup accelerators worldwide, which funded to companies like AirBnB, Dropbox, Rappi and Twitch.

The founders attribute this achievement to the fact that, on the one hand, the application uses its own technology, that is, it was developed in-house and uses machine learning to better understand the objectives and preferences of users and offer them an increasingly personalized experience, added to the immersive training model of its coaches .

“We know that each person is different, as are their goals and needs, which is why we work every day to improve data analysis and the development of new algorithms to get closer to more and more people,” mentions Iddar Olivares, CTO and wOS co-founder

And on the other, because the platform offers more than 1,200 recorded courses and real-time classes that are available in a free version limited to 50 minutes of training per month, with the possibility that for each recommended friend who downloads the app, they give 25 additional minutes and in a premium that gives access to all content for 249 pesos per month.

“This business model has allowed us to grow organically, since many use the service from the beginning and once they try it and reach their limit of minutes, they upgrade their membership to the premium version. These people on average use the platform four times a week,” says Mussalli.

The CEO of wOS considers that there is a great need to adopt habits that counteract physical inactivity and the health problems that it entails. According to the INEGI Practice and Physical Exercise Module (MOPRADEF), the population that performs sports or physical exercise in private facilities or places went from 11.2% in 2020 to 21.8% in 2021. In contrast, the number of people who declared performing their physical activity at home decreased from 28.8% in 2020 to 15.9% in 2021.

But wOS doesn’t compete with gyms, Mussalli says. “The pandemic accelerated the change or the perception of millions of people that training at home or remotely can be achieved and obtain the same results as in a gym, without having to be in person.”

Knowing this, the capital raising will allow wOS to develop new technologies focused on product development, that is, on reinforcing its personalized service, according to the profile of each person, through the application of more technology and algorithms.

In addition, part of the amount will be allocated to the national positioning of the brand. At the moment, the founders are making a marketing effort to make the platform known, without forgetting that their key strategy is word of mouth.

“We don’t consider ourselves a video platform, but rather a fully personalized support platform where you train with a goal. We know that the experience, the empathy of the instructors and the results of taking the online classes is what our users value the most”, he says.

the business driver

Mauricio Neria, sales lead of the mobile application company Winclap Mexico, points out that today the impact of technology is undeniable in applications like this one. In addition to reaching the user more accurately, it helps businesses make better decisions, with a better response time and a better forecast of success.

Both in Mexico and in Latin America, he says, there is a very accelerated learning process. Only in the country about 80% of people have access to a smartphone and it is the most effective means to generate awareness with the user, but above all to find a call to action.

To this is added the advantage of machine learning , which allows knowing how to make sure that the budget is invested consciously. “Today, six out of ten companies in Mexico are looking to invest in the digital market and two of these go blindly, but they are there because they know they have to be there and they bet hoping to find something,” he says.

Despite this, Neria acknowledges that it is a great moment in the industry to enter this digital wave, regardless of how long a company has been in the market. In the case of applications that offer online classes, such as fitness , the expert assures that startups dedicated to this have a competitive advantage, since they have user data, which, knowing how to use it, can have significant increases.

“We have seen increases in online learning platforms of more than 180% between 2019 and 2020 alone. We expect that in 2021 the growth will be close to 40 or 50%. Whether it’s yoga, fitness or micro courses, they are trends that are fully exposed”, he concludes.

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