amSTATZ is an online community that brings fitness professionals, athletes and fitness events together into one place. The fitness professional network develops business tools that make it easier for fitness professionals to run their businesses and keep their clients engaged between training sessions.
Using amSTATZ athletes can track workouts and search for trainers and local events and event organizers can use the network for their events publicity and partner with trainers to develop training programs for their registrants.
Founded in the summer of 2011 and their first product out a few weeks ago amSTATS wants to help users to follow fitness events and programs near them and find a great fitness trainer to help them stay fit.
TechZulu caught up with Michael Piermont, amSTATZ Chief Executive Officer and this is what he revealed.
Why did you venture into fitness?
The other founders and I had all been working with personal trainers in some capacity. We all enjoyed the in-person session, but afterwards, their was nothing. No summary of what we did, no easy way for me to recommend my trainer to my friends, and no way for me to easily book the next appointment. We just found this hole in the fitness industry. We knew there’s a better personal training experience to be had, so we set out to create one.
Who is on your team?
I am ( Michael Piermont) co-founder and the Chief Executive Officer amSTATZ. Working with professional athletes combined with my natural leadership ability and experience in business development makes me uniquely suited to lead a technology company in the health and fitness industry. As an employee of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets from 1999-2003 and of the Indianapolis Pacers from 2003-2008, I learned first-hand from the likes of Rod Thorn, Byron Scott, Jason Kidd and Larry Bird about the importance of leading by example and keys to assembling a championship-caliber team.
Sergey Belyankin is our Chief Technology Officer. Sergey’s diverse experience as an entrepreneur, technology consultant and software executive qualifies him to lead amSTATZ’s technology development. Sergey specializes in identifying business needs and strives for continuous improvement in all areas, by way of adherence to a lean/agile development methodology. Through ongoing analysis and refinement of existing processes, establishment of standards and metrics, team building and mentoring, Sergey has established a foundation and culture in which developers can flourish.
Sergey’s past experience includes development of enterprise solutions for companies including: Harley-Davidson, Nokia, Blue Cross / Blue Shield, Wellpoint, Aetna, and Navteq.
The third co-founder is Bobby McDonald, Vice President, Director of Business Development. Bobby’s strong sales acumen, genuine charisma and leadership abilities make him an invaluable asset to the founding team. With proven ability in both start-up and traditionally corporate atmospheres, Bobby has a truly unique ability to inspire others and lead by example.
What else have the founders founded?
This is the first time each of the founders have started an enterprise.
- A simple software solution that streamlines their business operations and keeps clients engaged.
For the client:
- Before: 60 minutes of training with a trainer = $60
- Now: 60 minutes of training with a trainer + personalized follow up, advice, encouragement and new exercises from someone who knows them = $60
For the event organizer:
- Exposure to a new channel of would-be participants – fitness-focused athletes who are dedicated to athletic training.
How does it work practically?
- Andy, a trainer, uses amSTATZ to book appointments, handle payments and message with multiple clients.
- During a training session with Jenna, Andy logs the exercise and number of reps of each exercise for Jenna to have later. After the session, Andy posts a summary to Jenna’s profile with the details of their workout and a few words of advice.
- Within the message containing the workout summary, Andy can propose a time for the next workout session.
- Between now and the next session Andy can build a training plan for Jenna (that culminates with her participation in a fitness event), monitor her progress and communicate back and forth via a messaging function.
- Jenna can write a recommendation on Andy’s profile or send an email to friends recommending Andy, one of his workout plans or the fitness event she’s registered for. Jenna can also search for local events, boot camps, or fitness classes.
How many users?
We have 115 paying customers right now.
What is your business model?
Fitness professionals pay a monthly subscription fee. Athletes can join for free. Events pay a listing fee. Advertising revenue is generated from each site visitor, paid or otherwise.
Any competition in LA?
We haven’t identified any competition in LA, specifically.
How unique are you from competitors elsewhere?
There are several competitors we’ve identified who have built a similar product. Our fitness events and mapping tool is a key differentiator. Braintree Payment integration is another.
We spent time making sure we had a great team. David Cohen from TechStars, someone I look up to as an entrepreneur, says that they don’t invest in ideas, but teams. We think we made the finals of the Nike+ TechStars Accelerator because of our team. Our team is very well-rounded, so we don’t worry too much about the competition. What they’re doing is less important than what our customers tell us they need.
Have you raised any funding yet?
We closed an angel round of funding in March for $415,000, 90% of which came from investors in Chicago. We are keeping the names of our investors private for now.
Building amSTATZ looks tough, have you had any challenges?
Finding engineering talent is a struggle for everyone right now. There’s something like 4.5 opportunities for every software engineer in the field.
Will you give us a scoop on what you are developing next on amSTATZ?
We’re getting great feedback from our early adopters. Really great feedback that’s going to help us build an awesome product. Workout tracking will be an area of focus in the coming months. Build out of the events component will also be a priority. But it all starts with the individual trainer for us. We want them to have a really awesome business tool, so they can run their business right from their tablet, on the gym floor.