How Strydal Is Empowering The New Wave Of D2C Fitness Professionals

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  • Online creator platform Strydal launches “cohort-based program” to help individual coaches compete with industry heavyweights Peloton, Freeletics and Nike 
  • Strydal enables fitness and wellness coaches to turn their passion into an online business, by integrating live courses, on-demand content and billing in one place
  • In October 2020, Strydal closed a pre-seed financing round of $970,000, while US rival Playbook raised $9.3 million via its Series A round 
  • Strydal Co-Founder Alexander Estner believes the future of online fitness will be driven by a creator-led passion economy 

MUNICH, Germany — Strydal, the online creator platform for wellness coaches, is launching a new community-building feature it believes will be the future of online fitness and wellbeing. 

Coined “cohort-based online programs”, the Munich-based startup is banking on the feature enhancing the online experience for both creators and consumers. 

Principally, it will allow coaches to deliver a mix of live and asynchronous classes via Strydal’s software platform to create a more structured, goal-orientated experience. 

Strydal says this approach delivers far higher completion rates compared with regular on-demand courses, as high as 90% versus under 5%

“For consumers, this structure will help them achieve their goals and feel more connected and part of a community of like-minded people,” Co-Founder Alexander Estner told Welltodo. 

“For creators, cohort-based programs are a more effective way to market and sell their passion. We call that a win-win.” 

 How Strydal Is Empowering The New Wave Of D2C Fitness Professionals

Image: Strydal

Arming the rebels
Strydal is among a host of tech-savvy businesses to have seized on the shift of fitness out of the studio and into the home. 

Its software platform enables fitness and wellness coaches to turn their passion into an online business, by integrating live courses, on-demand content, customer communication and billing in one place. 

Estner launched Strydal with Co-Founder Guilherme Coelho, who previously worked at Google and Freeletics, in July 2020.

A pre-seed financing round of €800,000 ($970,000) followed in October, with angel investors including Jacob Fatih (founder of FitX), Urs Keller (Stylight, TeleClinic), Chris Hitchen (Holidu, AnyDesk) and Jakob Riegger (co-founder of TrustYou). 

That same month, Strydal’s US rival Playbook raised a total of $9.3 million (€7.7 million) via its Series A round, releasing a minority stake to Porsche Ventures, the Stuttgart-based venture capital arm of the German car manufacturer. 

It’s Strydal’s mission to empower independent wellness professionals to compete online with industry giants like Peloton, Mirror and Alomoves, which, the startup says, follows a larger shift in society best described as “arming the rebels”. 

Direct-to-consumer fitness
Estner admits the online fitness sector has become increasingly crowded for individual coaches, who are now up against apps like Freeletics, physical studios like CrossFit boxes that have switched to digital, and mega-brands like Nike, Apple and Google. 

However, he’s confident that individual coaches hold the most valuable assets. “They have large social followings and are able to build direct relationships with their consumers,” said Estner. 

Now, with platforms such as Strydal empowering individuals to take on the heavyweights of the industry, Estner believes the future of online fitness will be driven by a creator-led passion economy. 

“Fitness professionals are unbundling themself from gyms or brands and building their own direct-to-consumer business,” he said. “Strydal powers those creators to compete against the big players like Peloton and Freeletics.” 

Over the next 12 months, Strydal plans to help creators grow their D2C business with services including live classes, video on demand and coaching via chat, as well as its new community-driven programs. 

“Cohort-based programs are perfect for running digital retreats, workshops, fitness challenges and more engaging online courses,” Estner added. 

“Long-term, Strydal is looking to serve digital creators worldwide (outside of Europe) and offer them even more ways to make a living from their passion.” 

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