Tandem is a fitness-focused live video platform

Another live streaming startup is hoping to grab its share of eyeballs. Tandem, which launched last week after a short beta test, is a bootstrapping fitness-focused platform aiming to offer a low friction outlet where personal trainers, fitness teachers and so on can broadcast personal training sessions and other healthy lifestyle focused content — be it recipe ideas, nutrition tips or guided meditations.

It’s pairing live video with a live text chat features to allow for real-time Q&As, so fitness pros can use the platform to, for instance, take and respond to questions from viewers.

Tandem’s hope, says founder and CEO Tristan Zier, is to carve out a fitness-specific niche in a live streaming space that already has big tech platforms duking away for dominance — with Twitter’s Periscope squaring up to Facebook’s Live feature, for example. Albeit the likes of Periscope, Facebook and Meerket are not focusing on a specific live video niche as Tandem is.

The startup is the new project from Zier whose prior startups include the YC-backed but now shuttered Zen99. During Tandem’s three week beta he notes: “We’ve had people use it both for video blogging (e.g. personal progress, sharing their workouts) as well as instruction (e.g. cooking, leading meditations).”

“We’ve been in touch with over 2,000 fitness professionals of varying degrees — yoga teachers, personal trainers, fitness celebrities, gym owners. We’re starting with them, but the platform will be (and currently is) open to anyone. We expect some to use it as a social community, e.g. tracking their progress or transformations and interacting with others on a similar journey,” he adds.

The platform is not currently providing fitness broadcasters with a way to monetize their streams but Zier says it will be adding a raft of features to enable this — so they will be able to take donations and subscriptions, generate merch sales and take ad revenue in a way he describes as similar to the e-sports/video games broadcasting platform Twitch.

Tandem will then take a cut of any sales to monetize the platform — provided, of course, it can bring in broadcasters and viewers alike. Zier says it’s been in touch with several thousand fitness pros and had some 300+ express interest in getting involved at this nascent stage.

Of course plenty of fitness pros already use existing video platforms such as YouTube to share and monetize their expertise, tapping into YouTube’s massive audience. But Zier reckons the live stream element further lowers the barrier to entry for fitness pros to get involved in sharing their expertise. While having a dedicated fitness-focused feature set aims to appeal to that particular community.

“Fitness is inherently a social and visual activity, hence why it has taken off on platforms like Instagram and the BodyBuilding.com forums. Live streaming is more real and genuine than other types of content, and is much lower friction for someone to create,” he argues.

“We’ll be creating specific features like subscriptions/donations, merch sales, and brand endorsements that are specific to fitness. Since we’re fitness specific, we’ll also be a hub for fitness related news.”

Other live streaming fitness-focused startups include Finland-based Yoogaia, which offers subscriptions for live streamed yoga and other fitness classes. Meanwhile, just last week, a food-focused live video platform startup called Nom.com also launched, as more startups seek to capitalize on growth of digital video ads.