workout from home
Houston on-demand fitness startup to launch virtual option for at-home exercise options
Last week, Sylvia Kampshoff saw a spike in her sales — something very uncommon for companies at this time, unless they are selling hand sanitizer, face masks, or toilet paper.
Kampshoff's company isn't providing toiletries though. Houston-based Kanthaka is an on-demand personal trainer tool for users to book one-on-one sessions with fitness experts at their own homes. With the city of Houston announcing that all bars and restaurants close to patrons, fitness studios followed suit. And that for Kanthaka meant a rise in sessions bought in Houston, Austin, Denver, Chicago, or any of the fifteen cities the app has launched in.
While gyms might be closing, "people feel pretty safe about having people come into their home," Kampshoff says, "and on the other hand we are wanting to give more jobs to trainers who have lost their jobs."
Kanthaka now has two people on boarding new fitness professionals on the app, and trainers who are out of work because their gym closed can get in touch with Kanthaka about the opportunity.
This spike in sales is coming mostly from younger users — particularly those in their 20s — but usually, Kanthaka has about a third of its users in the 60 and up age group — a population of people most at-risk from the COVID-19, or coronavirus. With this in mind, Kampshoff started looking into non face-to-face options for people who aren't comfortable with in-home instruction.
Next week, Kampshoff will launch digital sessions on Kanthaka. The sessions will still be one-on-one, but virtual. They won't be any cheaper, but will still provide that individual, undivided attention from a professional trainer. Additionally, Kanthaka will host free group fitness broadcasts online, and some will even factor in kids who are also stuck inside without many options for activities.
In just one week, Kampshoff had to pivot and tap a third-party streaming provider for the new service, something she has been able to do thanks to Sputnik ATX, an Austin-based accelerator Kampshoff is a part of.
"They were the first ones to say, 'Hey you should go virtual,'" Kampshoff says. "We started talking about it for the first time on Friday."
Ultimately, Kampshoff hopes this pivot will allow people access to personal training, as well as provide work for fitness professionals during the uncertain times of the coronavirus outbreak.