High-end fitness subscription service Classpass “path to learning entrepreneurship”

(compile: Lindsey)

cloud network hunting note: imagine just $99 a month can be in 20 cities 2000 a number of different studios and high-end gym for unlimited fitness course. The idea in Classpass has achieved. Classpass is a what kind of company? How to develop into the scale now? In this article, through its founder, tells the story of a startup of continuous learning and growth process.

Classpass is a located in New York to in more than 2000 different studios and high-end gym to provide unlimited fitness course of business, and want to get these you only need to pay a $99 fee per month. Classpass has ended by General Catalyst and Thrive Capital two investment Banks and angel investors and investors to participate in the $40 million B round before.

Classpass with in the past three months to get the $12 million in A round of funding success in this period of time from twenty seven expanded into the market. In September 2014 Classpass platform have reservations for a total of 500000. Now the number the number reached 15 million and accelerating growth.

but in terms of founder PayalKadakia and Classpass Classpass development also is not as smooth as it seems.

I also vaguely remember the first day, I met PayalKadakia that was in 2012 she was satellites do presentation. PayalKadakia is petite, quiet and co-founder of Classpass SanjivSanghavi too quiet, but she is not afraid. At that time the website called Classtivity, merely a gathered fitness course search tool. But when PayalKadakia explain determination to pursue her tightly dance when we have struck a chord.

she looks very firmly believe that this will work, and I also believe her.

back in January 2015, when I stepped into the Classpass situated near Madison square park, obviously I don’t know who to look for. At least 25 people crowded in front of me in this small space, two to three people around a table, others gathered on the sofa, there are some people bent on someone else’s computer looking at a chart or email or design criteria. Some of them on the phone. Here is very noisy. The temperature in the day of our interview in New York to 33 degrees and also in the rain, and I’m already sweating. Perplexed, I just called out the names of the PayalKadakia.

“Payal!” I want to use more than the crowded space of all the volume of the voice shouted, “Payal! You in this?”

I was just about to yell, Payal through revolving chair and messenger bag warmly welcome me.

“we will soon be moved to other places,” she said: “there are 35 employees, 16 across the street, 20 nearby.”

we go back to a wonderful and spacious conference room (I’m convinced that the outside some additional employees in the work) and then sit down. We talked about the cash flow, I tried to quickly calculate the growth rate of Classpass, pricing, potential income, time is in round A round of $12 million in financing and B between $40 million in financing.

“are you still in seven cities?” I asked.

“twenty!” She said loudly, smiled to me as if she couldn’t believe it. I feel incredible, in 13 cities expansion for four months.

An early stage

PayalKadakia is the first generation born in the United States of Indian descent, her parents were immigrants from India. In 2005, she graduated from the Massachusetts institute of technology in Boston, and then worked as a consultant at Bain. From the Massachusetts institute of technology to Bain (maybe sooner), has been dancing Payal. She established the Indian dance in college (still active), and then he started for a company called Bollywood dance Axion company.

“at that time, my life is work and dancing” she said. But in at the end of three years the line two point one life after she began to struggle. “When I want to dance when I feel bad and guilty, like I spend time and effort on me not to do the same. But dancing let me feel happy again.”

she has a choice: she can remain at Bain, or to complete her MBA degree, or she can do something for her to continue to choose to dance. “I don’t want to do one thing,” she explained.

she decided to leave Bain to join the warner music group, she describes warner for a position as a partner and she has the opportunity to continue to dance. She set up a own modern Indian dance company called Sa. In spite of Sa is very successful Payal warner music is also very well, she always can’t concentrate to them feel weak.

The first stage

in the summer of 2009, she tried to get the attention of the head of the Indian dance festival in the United States India, in the hope that can give the Sa dance company holds a position in the history of the festival, the festival usually focus on the more traditional dance forms. Reassuringly, Sa’s debut was very successful, not only in the New York times art version under the cover of the perfect period.

“when I know that,” Payal recalls. “I is preparing GMAT review then, when I see the New York times, the report after I immediately rushed into my room to throw away the GAMT book. “

Payal next year in established a warner and performers of communication network, and company and other companies set up a partnership, at the same time she also maintained at Bain years accumulated contacts. She also focus on the development of Sa as a dance company, not only let her performance on stage is helping other artists and her friends into public view.

in the distance she sensational show on American art festival in India one year later, Payal fly to San Francisco to attend a friend’s birthday party. In silicon valley is pregnant with ideas and common goals collapse of the industry people, Payal so inspired. She decided that she can continue to do that.

The second stage

“I thought, ‘I have a idea, I am also very creative. ‘I just don’t understand when I already know that I can accept the challenge yourself why accordingly classified into the business world or to stay in the United States, “she told me that, for the idea of more than four years ago still excited. She spent two weeks, and put forward the idea of a love, in the next two days she had a plan.

the on Tuesday in her back, she spent a morning time looking for a later in the day can participate in the dance class. After a search online, she didn’t find anything, then realized that no one can find a nearby pool resources. Classtivity was thus born.


“in fact,” she suddenly interrupted, “also called DabbleNYC Classtivity then.” After talking with trust mentor Payal within a few days with a business plan and prepare for a big change in life. “In fact is my mother told me to let me give up warner’s work. She saw what was happening in Sa and hope I can insist on doing it.”

in January 2011, almost exactly in this special interview four years ago, Payal to her partner in warner music sent a farewell letter. In the letter, she and quickly responded and asked her to go to his office of warner music’s then deputy chief strategy officer Michael Fleisher talked about continuing to promote the idea of her plan. Michael Fleisher eventually became her first investor, and introduced to her, David Tisch, and eventually he became a let Classtivity successful join satellites incubation project promoters. I was going to see her for the first time. Look in Payal, “god closed a door will open more window.”

The stage studying

Payal and her partner SanjivSanghavi ceaselessly in the next year test Classtivity preparation for join satellites.

“in the first year we work direction may be a lot of all don’t… “She paused, seems to be very grateful to them. “When we do… “She paused again. “This is our incubation period of gradual,” she said, as she found. “We saw a lot of studio and wrote a detailed database.”

Classtivity is a by-product of a very good idea, depressing data aggregation and output, is very difficult to search in the form of technology. Users can use a variety of conditions (time, date, price, place, etc.) to search for any type of exercise classes, and can be scheduled on Classtivity.


“I had hoped it has been determined to join a fitness program,” said Payal. “Because I am such people. I was ready to go out to attend classes. I need is just a search tools of the course. But it seems people need more than this, that is the reason why the gym membership in.”

The third stage

Classtivity continues to provide numerous search and fitness course in March 2012 to join the satellites course, plans to graduate in June in 2012 and began to enter the public eye.

“two years that version of the site reservation number less than 100 people,” she says, seem to learn all the proud of error.

I remembered the first time I see her, recalls her firm and my promise.

Payal described in June in satellites to wait for more scheduled at the same time. However, due to did not increase. In September they employ Mary Biggins to help expand the market. They change the user interface to October.


“we moved the button, the color together, and then we think we should do some marketing,” she said, almost laughed at her. “We tried to make the event a” buy one, get one “form, then we prepare to launch some free courses… Never give up.”

until after Classpass success today, it is easy to listen to Payal memories of her life with a smile is perhaps the most difficult months. Office noisy voice my attention to the corner, I think there are three different way can point to a successful, whereas in the past two years. nullnullnullnullnullnullnullnullnullnullnullnullnullnullnullnullnullnullnullnullnullnullnullnullnullnullnullnullnullnullnullnullnullnullnullnullnull