Dubai: ClassPass, one of the biggest providers of subscription-based fitness training services, has made an entry into the Middle East while using Dubai as its regional headquarters. Though scheduled to launch in the middle of October with the intention of engaging and adapting to peoples’ fitness needs, the company’s services are offered through a mobile application that helps users to access various fitness classes in their area through online booking.
Since its launch in New York City in 2013, ClassPass also offers on-demand video clips to users with countless workout options that encourage healthy living, enabling users to search gyms and studios near them and follow a daily routine to keep themselves fit and healthy.
Recognised as one of Forbes’s ‘Next Billion Dollar Startups’, ClassPass leverages proprietary technology to surface over a million fitness classes for a seamless booking experience that facilitates diverse user discovery.
Fritz Lanman, Ceo of ClassPass who previously served as Executive Chairman, was in Dubai announcing the company’s ambitions to get “at least 80 per cent of residents” working out over the next few months. Joining Lanman was his core team of Chloe Ross, International Vice President; Sophie Pless, General Manager, International Expansion and Ashley Kent, Country Manager for the UAE.
GULF NEWS: Why did you choose Dubai for the launch of your Middle East operations?
FRITZ LANMAN: We are quite excited at Dubai being a fast-paced and dynamic city where studio fitness is booming. At the same time we are excited about bringing in a totally different model to the market that we think is best for both consumers and our studio partners. Our mission statement says it all as we want to motivate people to lead inspired lives every day by introducing and connecting them to soul-nurturing experiences. Our Dubai membership will be underpinned by ClassPass’ long-standing proposition of variety, flexibility and value while keeping our objective of providing residents with entry routes into the highest level of premium gyms and studios in the city.
What are your most immediate plans for Dubai?
We made a successful entry into Singapore last month. At the moment we are present in more than 50 cities worldwide – and this number will touch 55 in October – while banking on an existing global network of more than 10,000 gyms and studios available on this platform. Most of our customers will be travelers with users being able to tap into the entire global network through one Dubai-based subscription. So far, we are present across five cities in the US, Canada, UK, Singapore and Australia. Within the next few months we would ideally like to have this number up to 1,000 cities.
Are you convinced ClassPass has a place in this region? If so, why?
The UAE fitness market has been pegged to reach at Dhs 3 billion by 2022 and we expect to have at least 1,400 clubs across the region by that time. We will be focused on four priorities over the next 12 months, namely expansion, corporate and digital reach and wellness with the ultimate aim being a healthier, happier and fulfilled life.
In addition, we will be expanding our global presence by launching in nine new countries by the end of 2018. By the end of 2019 we will shift our focus to launch in 20 new countries internationally while doubling down on the density of studio offerings in its existing markets.
How would you compare ClassPass to any of your other competitors in the fitness and well-being market?
We are not announcing our prices as yet as we want people to first come to us and try it out. Any new member registering with us will immediately earn a one-month free access to a diverse cross-section of fitness and exercise classes. Whether they are CrossFit enthusiasts, yoga practitioners or aspiring boxers, ClassPass members will have access to book fitness classes in different gyms and studios directly via a centralized app that will give them a wealth of exercise experiences across Dubai starting from high-intensity interval training, barre, spin and yoga to pilates, strength training and dance. As we continue towards our vision of ‘every life, fully lived’ our expansion will allow us to positively impact the lives of even more people across the world.
Much is being spoken about the tough condition of the market. How do you remain relevant during these tough times?
ClassPass’ expansion into the Middle East region follows the closing of a recent round of funding which saw the company secure $85 million (Dhs 310 million) financing led by Singapore-based investment firm Temasek. Since its inception in 2013, ClassPass has secured a total funding to a tune of $255 million allowing the continually-innovating business to fuel the future of fitness through the introduction of exciting new features designed for flexibility and convenience. We have already had a soft launch in the UAE and we are glad to state that we already have a waiting list of customers.
In addition, ClassPass has recently transitioned from a fixed class model to a dynamically priced credits based model in order to maximize membership benefits and optionality. These changes better align with the company’s goals of making the membership work for more people, driving more revenue to partners and positioning the company’s business economics for longevity.
ClassPass at a glance
■ Currently more than 50 cities across five countries
■ Recently secured $85 million funding for expansion
■ Plans to launch in nine new countries by end of 2018
■ Plans to enter another 20 countries by end of 2019
■ UAE fitness market pegged to reach Dhs 3 billion by 2022
■ ClassPass expects to have at least 1,400 clubs across the region by 2022