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Fitness Startup Cult.fit Opens Own Gyms With AI Trainer; Eyes Franchise Model

Fitness Startup Cult.fit Opens Own Gyms With AI Trainer; Eyes Franchise Model

Cult.fit has launched three Cult Gym outlets in Bengaluru, and eyes growth in Hyderabad and NCR via franchise model this year as India reopens post-pandemic

The company had acquired fitness aggregator Fitternity in February which had a network of 5K+ gyms across 15 cities

Cult gyms will feature an AI-trainer service that will offer a personalized workout programme pertaining to member’s goals, fitness levels and preferences

As India reopens after facing several months of lockdowns and social distancing, Bengaluru-based health and fitness startup Cult.fit (formerly, Cure.fit) has announced the launch of its own physical gym chain called Cult Gym. The move comes months after it acquired Mumbai-based fitness aggregator Fitternity for an undisclosed amount.

Starting this week, Cult.fit will open three outlets in Bengaluru and expand its branded gym footprint to Hyderabad and NCR by the end of the year, and other cities by the end of 2022. The company also announced that it will leverage franchise partnerships to broaden its reach across markets.

The subscription-based chain of gyms will offer functional and equipment-based workouts as well as personal training while catering to hygiene protocols. The gyms will feature an AI-trainer service whereby a Smart Workout Plan will offer a personalized workout programme pertaining to member’s goals, fitness levels, and preferences.

Founded by Myntra cofounder Mukesh Bansal and former Flipkart executive Ankit Nagori in 2016, Cult.fit uses an online-offline model to offer physical fitness, mental fitness (Mind.fit), nutrition (Eat.fit), with a primary care vertical (Care.fit), diabetic care and prevention with investment in Sugar.fit. It had also acquired connected fitness startup, TREAD to tap into the fitness hardware segment.

Leveraging An Existing Consumer Base

In February, Cult.fit had acquired Fitternity. Founded in 2014 by Neha Motwani and Jayam Vora, Fitternity, a corporate fitness and gym aggregator platform, claimed to have a network of over 5000+ gyms, boutique fitness classes and luxury swimming pools in India across 17 fitness forms and 15 cities.

While Fitternity continues to exist as a separate entity, Cult.fit provides a special Cult pass across 100+ gyms and fitness centres. The company had reported that 30 of its partner gyms had seen revenue growth of 2-3x.

With the acquisition, Cult.fit began to foray into gyms by onboarding existing third-party gyms in the market. According to the company, Cult Gyms will allow it to provide fitness services to its customers across the spectrum — online and offline.

Sachin Kotangale, leadership team, Cult.fit, said that they want people to think of cult.fit when they think of fitness. “The launch of Cult gyms will help us add another dimension to our fitness offerings.”

Virtual Gyms Take Precedence Over Physical Gyms Post Pandemic

Curefit’s fitness centres had been heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic as most of its centres had to either shut down or become semi-operational. It transitioned to virtual classes and at-home fitness, a phase during which it also laid off over 1,500 employees.

According to MarketResearch, the corporate wellness and fitness market in India is expected to touch INR 2,153 Cr by 2021, from INR 1,459 Cr in 2019, growing at a CAGR of 5.75% during the forecast period 2020-2025. The growth of the industry is said to be driven by the rising number of lifestyle-related diseases, along with lack of proper diet, exercise and rest, among others.

According to a DataLabs report by Inc42, the pandemic severely depleted the revenue for fitness studios, but virtual fitness apps gained prominence. Further, fitness and wellness apps were the second most preferred segment in terms of the funding raised by healthtech startups.

Despite the reopening of gyms, people are still reluctant to go back to gyms and work out due to their safety and hygiene concerns. Thus, in the disrupting market, gyms and studios are expected to provide fitness classes available for both in physical presence and reserve a few slots for virtual attendees.