Australian app assists gym junkies to find a fitness centre
She is barely in her 20s but already has an innovative app business helping link gyms and consumers.
Vanessa Picker's brainchild, FitUsIn, connects people with fitness centres and personal trainers, enabling them to enjoy a casual gym visit without the shackles of a contract.
The whiz-kid from Queanbeyan witnessed the discouragement of potential casual gym customers during a two-year spell working in the fitness industry.
"I remember people walking up to reception ready to work out but walking away due to the high cost of a casual visit." This set the 22-year-old seeking a solution.
Seven months since it began, FitUsIn, of which Picker is the chief executive, has signed up more than 2500 subscribers around Australia. About 140 gyms and personal trainers are engaged with her product via the website and smartphone app.
"It costs nothing to sign up. And for our customers, they get access to the best fitness deals without the hassle of a membership," she says.
Picker's concept won Startup Weekend Sydney last year, which gave her an opportunity to test and refine the idea.
The website was launched late last year and FitUsIn gained momentum when selected for the ANZ Innovyz START accelerator program. Picker later earned a trip to New York as the only Australian finalist in the NYC Next Idea competition.
"It was a really good opportunity to build some great connections," Picker says. The smartphone app was released in March.
The business model is simple: "We take a small commission on each of the passes that we sell through the website and iPhone app."
The potential market in Australia is more than 3000 gyms. But Picker is looking to extend her app beyond the fitness industry to other professional sectors. Android and iPad versions of the app are also on the cards.
There has been keen interest in the product from the US. "International expansion is on the horizon in the near future," Picker says.