April 08, 2021 at 02:01PM

The rapid growth of a six-month-old virtual fitness platform that launched in the throes of the pandemic is catching the eye of both consumers and investors, who are eager to sign onto what could be the next big thing.

According to Moxie Founder Jason Goldberg, in March alone, users signed up for 8,000 classes, amounting to more than one million minutes of online yoga, strength, high-intensity interval training and a dozen other types of fitness sessions. Taken together, that racked up 450 percent growth for the New York-based company, which dubs itself “the most convenient way to work out.”

“When we decided to develop and launch Moxie [in Oct. 2020], it was in direct support of the 500,000 fitness instructors who were unable to earn a living wage as gyms and studios shuttered overnight,” Goldberg said in an emailed Q&A with PYMNTS.  “Independent fitness instructors suddenly had to become entrepreneurs and navigate the new frontier of virtual fitness and find ways to stand out from the influx of trainers moving their businesses online.”

What they found when they did try to move their fitness sessions online was a bit of a mess, with disjointed tools and platforms, and no ability to offer the seamless digital experience that consumers have come to expect. “So Moxie provided a turnkey solution for everything from scheduling to payments to branding, and continues to help instructors across the country thrive as fitness entrepreneurs,” Goldberg said.

An Emphasis on Instructors

Certainly users, or paying customers, are a critical part of the business, but Goldberg approached it from the other side, setting out to attract and retain the best instructors on the assumption that their loyal fitness fans would follow. Fast-forward to the present, and thousands of independent instructors have signed onto Moxie, drawn to the platform’s straightforward business arrangement that allows them to set their own schedules and prices and keep 85 percent of what they earn.

In addition, with the help of $6.3 million of fresh seed capital, Moxie is also offering these physically fit independent business owners something they can’t get from working out in a gym or studio: benefits. “The company has just today launched Moxie Benefits in partnership with Stride Health, to provide instructors with access to health insurance, dental and vision plans, life insurance, and a bevy of customized benefits,” Goldberg noted. It’s the first time a fitness company has offered this level of support to self-employed instructors, regardless of the number of classes they teach.

“Health insurance and benefits have long been a pain point for fitness instructors as part of the gig economy, and Moxie Benefits provides a simple way for instructors to enroll in health plans and easily obtain tax credits, saving them thousands of dollars and hours of administrative work,” he said.

Later this spring, the company plans to expand the program to groups of instructors with the debut of Moxie Teams, which will enable groups of instructors to join together and form small businesses on the platform.

Catering to Customers

Goldberg said Moxie users are equally delighted with their early interactions, with 89 percent indicating that they plan to continue taking virtual fitness classes once the pandemic is over. “Convenience, variety and connection” are the three most common reasons that users want to stick with their online fitness programs, Goldberg said.

“With virtual fitness, there is no commute to the gym. The time savings that people have [gained by] being able to work out from home is invaluable,” he said, as is the ability to choose from thousands of classes and instructors — either live or on-demand — to work out how and when it is convenient. The final reason that Moxie users plan to stick with the program is that they have made a connection with their instructors and are often more comfortable privately exercising online than doing so in-person in a class.

The platform is designed to be accessible to people of all ages and incomes. Classes range in price from $5 to $25, although many instructors offer a “flex pay” option to new students, allowing them to pay whatever they feel is right at the end of the session.

“Our investment theory has always been to identify entrepreneurial founders solving for today’s problems,” said Resolute Ventures Partner and Co-founder Raanan Bar-Cohen. “With Moxie, we saw an experienced operator in Jason, with a product that solved for the issues that instructors and consumers had experienced in the shift to online fitness, as well as a clear roadmap for continued success.”

Virtual Fitness Platform Moxie Gets Fast Start With New Users, Fresh Money …

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