Philipp Roesch-Schlanderer, CEO of EGYM

EGYM

In this Q&A, you’ll hear from Philipp Roesch-Schlanderer, CEO of EGYM, a leader in smart workout solutions. He discusses how the Germany-based company’s smart equipment, cloud software, and corporate wellness offering tie together a comprehensive vision for movement as medicine and improved global well-being.

Tell us about EGYM’s global business.

Philipp Roesch-Schlanderer: EGYM is a global fitness technology leader that provides fitness and health facilities with intelligent workout solutions built on connected gym equipment and software.

EGYM empowers gym operators to support their members’ fitness journey and provide comprehensive, data-based guidance to help them stay motivated and achieve their goal of a healthier life with improved physical and mental wellness.

For employers, EGYM offers subscription-based corporate health and wellness solutions under the EGYM Wellpass brand. Employees gain access to the top facilities as well as EGYM training programs — and by improving their personal health, employers prevent costly illnesses, recognize higher productivity, and enhance the well-being of their workforce.

We’re headquartered in Munich, Germany, with additional offices throughout Europe and most recently, a US-based HQ in Denver, Colorado.

What key insight led you to pursue this opportunity?

PRS: Born and raised in Germany, I moved to the US to attend university at Columbia Business School in New York City. As a newcomer, my friends advised me to wear my Columbia T-shirt frequently and visit the gym at least twice a week — this was my first real introduction to gym culture.

Initially, I found it hard to understand the appeal. I’d press the quick-start button on cardio machines, but the lack of personalization left me unsure of my progress, and the absence of data made it hard to gauge my success.

During my time there, conversations with fellow gym-goers revealed a shared dissatisfaction. Many weren’t seeing the results they wanted, the experience felt impersonal, and many had experienced a constant cycle of joining and leaving gyms driven by New Year’s resolutions.

It became clear that while people understood the importance of exercise, the current gym experience simply wasn’t working for them.

This realization sparked my belief that technology could address these issues, making gym experiences more personalized and rewarding for everyone.

How did you turn your idea into a company?

PRS: We started with a simple question: What should every gym-goer be doing? The answer was strength training.

Recognizing the limitations of analog equipment in personalizing strength training, we created smart strength machines, reaching profitability within 18 months of production.

Our next move was to digitize the entire workout floor. We raised funds and built EGYM cloud, the largest API platform for gyms, and partnered with major players in the industry. We also acquired Netpulse to integrate workout data into gym apps — a solution now used by 16K gyms worldwide.

Having established ourselves as a global fitness tech leader, we expanded into corporate wellness with EGYM Wellpass — now the leading workplace solution in Germany and France, with plans to expand wherever EGYM technology is present.

Throughout challenging times, our dedicated team and supportive investors have been instrumental. 13 years on, and reinforced by our recent Series F fundraise, we’ve become a force in gymtech and corporate fitness.

My ultimate vision for EGYM is to shift healthcare from repair to prevention by building a bridge connecting corporate fitness (through Wellpass), fitness technology (via EGYM), and the healthcare market, aiming at a potential total addressable market exceeding $600B globally in the upcoming years.

EGYM is on a pathway to becoming transformative, creating a future where everyone has seamless access to EGYM-equipped gyms that help them achieve their fitness goals and cultivate long-lasting healthy habits.

What is the biggest opportunity in smart equipment? How does your software advance that?

PRS: With our smart and connected equipment, we can solve several key challenges exercisers face at the gym:

  1. Motivation: Most users struggle to build long-term habits. This is often driven by not achieving their goals, not being able to see progress, or missing variation in their training regimen.
  2. Ease of use: Remembering all the machine settings, weight increases, and different variations in intensity is beyond most exercisers.
  3. Guidance: There’s a knowledge gap in executing an exercise correctly, safely, and efficiently for each workout.
  4. Progress tracking: Exercisers must be able to understand and see their progress.
  5. Cost: The points above are, for the most part, solved by personal trainers and coaches, but their services exceed the average gym-goer’s budget.
  6. Personalization: Exercisers want a workout experience that feels genuinely theirs and isn’t a copy+paste template that fails to incorporate their health data and goals.

With EGYM, we can offer workouts at the gym that are personalized, guided, and fun for everyone. For instance, starting in July, we are rolling out Gameday — an ecosystem-based feature that brings competition and fun to clubs by allowing users to compete in strength workouts against each other

For fitness and health clubs, our complete solution can improve success and drive member retention—because people who meet their goals are likely to stay members—as well as drive upsells through new customer journeys. We also support personal trainers through mobile apps like our Trainer app

Bottom line: Member success means gym success, and technology can help drive both.

Can you explain your approach to “the shared economy of the gym”?

PRS: Gyms, given their shared usage, offer a compelling price-value proposition. They are much more cost-effective than individuals investing in comprehensive home gym setups. And it’s not just about the financials — gyms provide a diverse array of equipment and exercise options that can cater to a wide range of fitness levels and goals.

At EGYM, we’re working hard to make gym experiences even more rewarding and personalized. By offering smart, connected gym equipment, we’re helping individuals overcome common challenges they face during their fitness journey and redefining what a gym workout can be.

At the intersection of corporate fitness and health clubs, EGYM’s fitness technology and EGYM Wellpass work together.

As we foster more effective workouts and healthier habits, we’re helping to drive down healthcare costs in the long term, with our corporate health counting 2.5M eligible employees from 7.5K participating companies. With our strategic expansion plans, particularly in North America and Europe, we’re looking forward to bringing these benefits to an even wider audience.

In addition to gradually getting our equipment in more gyms, especially those in the US, we’re simultaneously growing our corporate fitness business organically and through strategic acquisitions, like our 2022 purchase of Gymlib, France’s leading corporate fitness provider.

How is EGYM using Wellpass as a wedge into prescribing movement as medicine?

PRS: I strongly believe that we’re on the brink of a transformation in the healthcare sector, where the focus will shift from repair to prevention.

Instead of treating health issues once they occur, the emphasis will be on proactive measures to prevent them from happening in the first place. This is where gyms play a crucial role.

Gyms, especially those powered by technology like ours at EGYM, stand at the forefront of this preventative healthcare revolution as providers, offering cost-effective, personalized, and efficient fitness solutions for greater well-being.

EGYM’s advanced fitness technology delivers the capability to prescribe workouts that are not only safe and effective but also repeatable, mirroring the methods used in scientific studies. This ensures a high level of consistency in training while accommodating the unique fitness needs and goals of each individual.

This ability to tailor workouts enhances engagement and outcomes for gym-goers, making their fitness journey more enjoyable and successful.

Synergistically, Wellpass creates a vital link between the employer who sponsors the fitness benefits and the gym where workouts are carried out. By facilitating this connection, Wellpass encourages employers to play a more active role in their employees’ wellness, effectively reducing healthcare costs for governments and employers while enhancing productivity and employee satisfaction.

Tying everything I’ve already said together, by leveraging EGYM’s fitness technology and Wellpass, we’re fostering a more seamless, effective, and engaging integration of corporate fitness and health clubs and creating a more holistic, health-conscious corporate culture and society at large.

How are you approaching expansion in the US? Why now?

PRS: I’ve always admired US fitness operators’ pragmatic, business-first approach. Their strategies are centered around return on investment, honing in on the optimal pricing, offerings, and services for their target demographic.

Breaking into the US market was a steep learning curve for us, giving us valuable insights into product-market fit, diverse business models, and various customer journeys unique to this market.

Over the years, we’ve fine-tuned our ecosystem to the extent that EGYM is now equipped to cater to all types of club models. Whether it’s an upsell-focused boutique or a member care-driven nonprofit, we have the right solutions.

For the community-oriented gym where a human touch is the priority, EGYM offers a range of trainer and member tools, in conjunction with our state-of-the-art hardware, to enhance customer experiences and support the sale of personal training services.

For those aiming to automate their gym operations to compete on price, we can assist in creating a nearly staffless customer journey. Despite lean operations, this model offers users a highly personalized experience at a more affordable price point.

Our diverse customer base in the US underlines this versatility. We’re proud to count dozens of YMCAs across the country among our users, while we’re also making strides in the high-value, low-price (HVLP) segment, as evidenced by our growing collaboration with EōS Fitness in recent months.

We also recently opened our new North American HQ in downtown Denver, Colorado. It includes EGYM Fitness, a publicly accessible gym where you can work out with EGYM.

I would love for you to visit us there and try out EGYM for yourself if you are in town. I can put it in a thousand words, but the EGYM Experience is best experienced in person.

So, if you happen to be in Denver, contact our US team via EGYM.com/us and let them know you are in town!

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