Cesar Carvalho, Gympass Co-founder and CEO


In 2012, former McKinsey & Company analyst Cesar Carvalho identified the dual underutilisation of gym memberships and corporate benefits, forming Gympass to get more employees active. Since then, the Brazil-born company has reached 17K corporate customers and 2M employee subscribers globally.

With a recent $85M funding round that valued Gympass at $2.4B, its co-founder and CEO caught up with us to discuss the platform’s evolution from fitness to holistic well-being and how new partnerships are moving the needle for a healthier workforce.

Get us up to date with Gympass.

Cesar Carvalho: We founded Gympass to solve the well-being crisis that is plaguing the global workforce. Today, we’re the world leader in corporate wellness platforms, offering the best network of gyms, classes, personal trainers, and wellness apps – all in one employee benefit.

Together with our clients and partners, we’re completely reinventing workplace well-being by making it super engaging to employees and also delivering value to companies.

We’re also seeing a big mindset shift in that corporate wellness is not a perk or expense; it’s an investment in employees and company performance that has clear positive returns. More than 93% of employees worldwide believe that their well-being is as important as their salary. And companies that provide Gympass double the number of employees engaging with wellness, reduce turnover by up to 40% and save up to 35% on healthcare costs.

The biggest drivers of our engagement with our platform is flexibility and affordability. Employees have access to a subscription that costs up to 50% less than a single gym or studio but gives them access to more than 50K holistic well-being partners across physical fitness, emotional health, nutrition, sleep and all of the most-used digital apps like Headspace, Strava and MyFitnessPal.

With the lower price, you have more options, can add family members, and can join, cancel or try new things at any time.

A record-breaking year for the company, in August 2023, we announced our $85M Series F funding round at a valuation of $2.4B. We also grew our customer base 80%, reaching 17K corporate customers and 2M employee subscribers globally.

How are you aligning with a more holistic-minded consumer?

CC: The research is consistently clear that the key inputs of holistic well-being are physical activity, mindfulness, nutrition, sleep, relationships and gratitude. Focusing on just one or two will not move the needle. This doesn’t mean you should be hard on yourself and try to make progress on everything at once, but it does mean you can’t just focus on one area and expect your well-being to meaningfully change.

Our commitment lies in providing an accessible and flexible wellness network that caters to each member’s unique needs, equipping them with resources and tools that they need at that moment. The key is acknowledging and respecting that each person is on their own journey, and we need to be able to meet and adapt with them as their needs change.

In line with this mindset, Gympass is pioneering a shift in employee well-being that goes beyond traditional physical fitness or fragmented point solutions. With our network of over 50K partners, we offer everything from brick-and-mortar gyms and emotional health services to online fitness classes, meditation apps, nutrition, sleep support and even personalised wellness coaches.

Our dedication to personalisation doesn’t stop with our product innovation. We help our customers to create a positive culture around holistic well-being, driving happier and healthier workforces.

How do you ensure success for both consumer and enterprise partners?

CC: We are focused on delivering value across the entire ecosystem. Unlike some earlier fitness-only companies that originally focused on a B2C business model, Gympass has been serving global businesses, their employees and our well-being partners for over a decade.

Our business customers get a comprehensive platform that’s easy to roll out, with ongoing employee engagement that continuously supports enrollment growth, integration with the main payroll and HR systems in the market and a variety of solutions to serve hybrid and remote workforces.

Our well-being partners can drive new, incremental revenue and loyal members. A testament to our greater impact, more than 60% of Gympass members did not have a gym membership prior to joining, and 90% are new customers for Gympass partners, driving an entirely new stream of revenue for partners in the Gympass ecosystem.

How are you approaching expansion? What’s the criteria for entering new territory or finding new partners?

CC: We deliberately partner with organisations that represent a shared dedication to making well-being universal. Whether it’s teaming up with fitness giants like Orangetheory Fitness, mindfulness services such as Headspace or productivity tools like Thrive Global, partnerships play a pivotal role in achieving this mission.

Our recent Series F round underscores the confidence that new and existing investors have in Gympass’s mission and unique opportunity. We’ll continue to invest in our global expansion and drive product innovation as we expand from our origins in physical fitness into a more holistic health platform.

Our global expansion strategy centres on deepening our presence in the 11 countries where we operate to deliver growth and global impact.

What developments are on the roadmap for the next six months?

CC: 2024 will be the biggest year yet for our company and our product.

We’ll roll out new capabilities for HR and business leaders to manage employee enrollment, set up employee challenges and drive connection, all while delivering more out-of-the-box integrations with all of the most-used HR and payroll apps.

Our employee members will expect an even better experience as we double down on core functionality like search, personalisation and expanding our 50K-strong partner network.

What consumer trends are you most excited about in 2024 & beyond?

CC: One particularly interesting trend is the shift away from traditional after-work gatherings centred around drinking and the overall decline of alcohol consumption among younger people.

Post-work activities are evolving, reflecting a collective desire for more meaningful leisure time. For the first time, in 2023, we actually saw more usage of our platform in the evenings as opposed to in the morning.

We’re also seeing more people seek out personal well-being options in addition to the social benefits we get from groups. This is why we recently announced the expansion of our personal training product, Trainiac by Gympass. We can connect employees 1:1 with highly qualified Wellness Coaches uniquely positioned to understand their individual needs and goals, build personalised plans and serve as an accountability partner.

If you’re interested in having your company featured in our Q&A series, send an email to hello@welltodoglobal.com.

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