If you’re anything like me, you’re already kind of fat and lazy and likely to just get fatter and lazier with time. You blame an intense work schedule, high cost of gym memberships, and lack of time for your gluttonous, slovenly existence. You secretly hate the squishy blob of flesh that you’ve become, but you say you have neither the time, energy, or money to do anything about it. And, well, you might be the target demographic for fitness provider Wello, which uses video chat to allow anyone to get personalized training sessions online.
Wello has launched a marketplace that connects personal trainers with potential clients, using two-way video chat to enable anyone to get training sessions at their convenience. All users need is a laptop, web connection, and webcam, and they can begin scheduling and taking personal fitness classes. People can workout at home, without having to travel or be embarrassed about people watching them struggle through a workout regimen. And since there’s another person on the other line, there’s no fear of quitting early.
The startup has a wide range of exercise disciplines to choose from, including yoga, Pilates, martial arts, and strength training. Once users determine what type of exercise they want to take part in, Wello can connect them with trainers who fit their personal schedule and exercise style, whether they prefer a more laid-back approach or need a drill sergeant-type personal motivator. Users can also choose between 25-, 40-, and 55-minute sessions, depending on how much time they have. Once booked, users will receive a link to log in to their one-on-one training session.
For personal trainers, the site provides a new revenue stream and can do away with the hassles that come from booking sessions through whatever gym they might work at. They can schedule sessions in their spare time, and since local gyms aren’t taking a cut, they’re likely making a lot more per session than they would have otherwise. They’re also open to a potentially wider customer base — Wello has recruited trainers from major cities, but also from less-populated areas where the potential customer base might be limited.
So far, Wello has signed up more than 150 trainers, and has a backlog of others to evaluate. The startup evaluates each fitness professional for certifications, then puts them through a training session and has them provide a session for a Wello employee, who evaluates them before adding them to the system.
Wello was founded by Ann Scott Plante and Leslie Silverglide, who met at Stanford Business School and bonded over their mutual love of fitness. Ann had previously worked for Bain & Company as a strategy consultant, while Leslie had founded MixtGreens, which she sold to Nestle’s investment arm. The two have been bootstrapping the startup, which now has six employees based in San Francisco. But now that it’s officially launched, the two are looking for a seed round of funding from outside investors.