Companies

After success at home, fitness start-ups ready to flex muscles abroad

Priyanka Pani Mumbai | Updated on January 08, 2018 Published on October 05, 2017

Plan to tap into the popularity of Indian fitness regimes such as yoga and ayurveda; eye Diaspora

After gaining popularity among the health-conscious, several home-grown tech-led fitness players are now looking to expand their wings by tapping the Diaspora worldwide. Many of these players are looking to enter global markets with wearable fitness products, yoga classes and ayurveda-related regimes and diets. At least 4-5 players in the segment are looking at markets such as the US, the UK and the UAE, where Indian fitness regimes like yoga and ayurveda are fast gaining popularity.

GOQii is already selling its wearables globally through Amazon’s Launchpad and has been getting a good traction, the company, founded by Vishal Gondal, said.

Chennai-based Zorba, which is backed by fitness chain Talwalkar, is looking to enter the UK and the US markets by initially tapping big corporates. The company already has one yoga studio in Dubai and will be soon expanding the operations in that market, too.

Started by 25-year-old second-generation entrepreneur Sarvesh Shashi in March last year, Zorba already has about 80 studios across various formats, in about 45 Indian cities. “The plan is to scale up the number of studios to 250 in the next three years. This will also include our international studios that we will be running through local partnerships there,” Shashi said. He added that there is a huge demand for Indian yoga trainers in the international market and that the company will be training about 400 yoga teachers this year.

According to a study conducted by Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance in the US, the number of yoga followers in the US shot up to more than 36 million in 2016, from 20.4 million in 2012, raising the market size of the yoga industry.

Yashraj Singh, founder of sports consultancy Time of Sports, is also looking at global markets to get the best international licences to promote fitness through various sporting activities. Amaresh Ojha, CEO and co-founder of Gympik, another fitness start-up, told BusinessLine that that the company is looking at countries such as Indonesia and Dubai where the fitness sector is still very unstructured.

“We are doing our groundwork for a smooth launch in Indonesia and Dubai, to start with. We will be entering these countries by this year-end, and will start with the fitness aggregation model,” he added.

Rohit Kuttappa, CEO, ChooseMyBicycle.com, said: “We will extend our area of operations to countries in the Asia-P-acific region, such as Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia and Australia, which have a growing population of amateur cyclists who want a more convenient way of buying cycles online. The timing of the expansion will be decided over the next 20-24 months, post the necessary market research and international brand associations. The move is validated by recent statistics that shows that Asia is the largest growing bicycle market in the world.”

Change in mindset

“The global realm of healthcare has radically shifted from ‘detect and manage’ to ‘predict and prevent’,” said Vrinda Mathur, Partner, Grant Thornton India LLP. “This change in mindset, combined with the rapid technological and socio-political impetus on improving health, is resulting in a fitness and health boom across the globe. Hospitals are no longer primary to tertiary care providers with core medicine professionals. They now have dedicated nutritionists, yoga instructors and counsellors. Patients are now consumers of holistic wellness products and services. Technology is the enabler of this transition,” she said on the rise of fitness products and apps.

According to a Tracxn report, about 38 fitness start-ups have come up in the country in the last six years — of these, nine started this year — and have raised the largest funding so far, at $31 million compared with $0.25 million in 2012.

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Published on October 05, 2017
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