One can say that this is not an obviously ideal time to run a gym-membership-based software company. But PerfectGym is unstoppable even in the age of the Pandemic. From the very beginning in 2009, it just doesn’t take no for an answer, consistently making its owners dreams come true. They’re now digitally transforming the fitness industry in 55 countries. How? Scroll down to find out!
We asked Perfect Gym, one of the biggest gym-membership-based software company, how they keep changing the fitness industry so impressively. We were also curious about their story, wins and challenges during COVID-19 and much more.
Straal: You successfully managed to deploy 1,100 clubs and scure millions of Euros in funding. Can you tell us about your journey to create PG?
Sebastian Szalachowski, CEO at PerfectGym: Perfect Gym started as a project in our web agency/software house back in 2009. One of the projects that we delivered was for a new fitness chain in Poland. They stood out as being innovative. Most Gyms at the time billed using short term contracts that had to be renewed every billing period. This fitness chain was one of the first to offer subscription-based memberships, but get this, they did all of their billing over fax.
We felt that there was an opportunity to digitally transform the industry so we built out a system and within several months we deployed our first club. That same year we became an official partner of Gantner Electronics, one of the largest makers of access control devices.
By 2016, we had acquired 1MLN Euro in seed funding and deployed our 100th club. A year later we opened our first international offices in Russia and Australia.This international expansion contributed to deploying our 300th club in 2017 and closing a 6.2MLN Euro Series A funding round from 3TS Capital Partners, Innovation Nest and Trigon Capital.
Perfect Gym was the first to market with a Machine Learning module, tailor made for facility operations in 2018. Our dedication to constant innovation let us deploy our 800th club in 2019 quickly swelling to 1,100 clubs in 2020.
S: What’s the company’s target market and the biggest challenges right now?
PG: Perfect Gym’s target markets are fitness clubs and leisure centers but we also have customers among facilities as diverse as swimming pools, trampoline parks, and yoga studios. Not only is our platform diverse but so are the locations of our customers.
Perfect Gym services various fitness facilities in 55 countries around the globe adjusting their solutions to markets requirements.
Geographically, we are one of the few fitness facility member management systems to be available in over 55 countries, given the localization requirements of gym management systems. Of these our strongest markets are Poland, northern Europe, South East Asia, the middle east, Russia and Australia.
While our wide reach has made us resilient in the face of COVID, our biggest challenges at the moment relate to our customers successfully reengaging their customers. In Autumn only 60% of customers went back to the gym but we are seeing some promising signs coming out of Australia and the UK as they ease out of lockdown.
S: Could you describe your business model and explain why you chose it?
PG: Perfect Gym is a platform that sits in the middle of the gym ecosystem, managing all of the functions of the gym, either internally or with integrations with device manufactures like Gantner and Technogym or payments gateways like Straal. As a result we charge per gym license on a subscription basis. This provides special value to both large and small chains as the complexity of the gym management system for a multi facility chain is greater than the same number of individual facilities.
We also have different pricing models for IT services and our marketing module but at our core, we’re a SaaS subscription business.
‘The subscription model provides special value to both large and small chains as the complexity of the gym management system for a multi facility chain is greater than the same number of individual facilities.’ Sebastian Szalachowski, CEO at Perfect Gym
S: What is your competition? How many companies offer that type of services?
PG: Given how scalable our platform is and how many markets we operate in, we have different competitors at every level. At the most basic level some gyms use a mashup of excel spreadsheets and individual tools for each part of the business. There are then local gym management solutions in a number of markets with varying levels of scope and capability. It should come as no surprise that there are also many enterprises who have custom built systems, just like how Perfect Gym started out.
There are a handful of international competitors but none really have our geographical range, the scale of our feature set, and the ability to serve individual boutiques as well as large enterprises.
S: How do payment solutions provided by Straal improve your business?
PG: A key part of any gym business is being able to charge for their services. We integrate with Straal so that our customers can provide online payments for memberships, class passes, and other items. It is particularly useful for providing recurring membership payments over a number of different payment methods.
We decided to start working with Straal because we wanted a modern technology platform to provide payments that suited our own to provide value to our customers. Straal is competitively priced, has good territory cover and has excellent service levels. In the end it was a no-brainer.
S: How has the pandemic influenced your business? What have you done to adjust to the ’new normal’?
PG: Over the past year the majority of our customers have had to react to COVID in some way with most suspending subscriptions and closing for a period of time. We’ve supported our customers on an individual basis to make sure they can come out the other side of this pandemic stronger.
Perfect Gym made it easy to quickly suspend subscriptions and then stream classes to club members. Access control limits and vouchers for repairing has made it easier for our customer to reopen safely. With these tools available to them, 95% of our customers have been able to survive this period.
S: What does the future hold for you?
PG: Right now, our highest priority is helping our customers provide value to their customers when many facilities remain closed. We’ve already launched a class streaming feature as well as capacity management tools to help clubs limit the number of members in their facility to a safe level.
Going forward, we want to provide more digital endpoints for club activities. One example is our Perfect Score module that uses gamification to encourage attendance. The goal is to help clubs shift to a hybrid model where they can provide unique experiences to their members both in and out of the facility.
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Perfect Gym services fitness facilities in 55 countries around the world. As legacy providers are becoming outdated in their ability to help clubs keep pace with an ever-changing and increasingly digitized market, Perfect Gym positions its Enterprise clients with the insights, oversight, and international mobility needed to become global market leaders and disruptors.
Straal is an international provider of payment, optimization and fraud prevention solutions for future-minded businesses experienced in working with the fitness industry and supporting their subscription-based-business model. We provide diverse payment methods and use the highest quality AI-based security solutions to make the process as smooth, seamless and safe as possible. We’re really impressed with what PerfectGym managed to accomplish in such a short time and looking forward to their continued success!