Gymtrack, Revolutionizing Fitness

[This is the fourth part in a series of profiles on Canadian co-founders making waves in the States. Here’s part one, two and three.]

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Gymtrack is out to create the gym experience of the future. 

Lee Silverstone and Pablo Srugo have built a virtual personal training system. With a device that connects seamlessly to gym equipment, users are provided workout monitoring, feedback, suggestions and encouragement.

After running an online marketplace for tutors, the Ottawa based Gymtrack founders realized their true passion was in leading healthy lifestyles and revolutionizing an industry that they believe to be sitting fifteen years in the past. Out of personal need and inspired by the release of Fitbit, they wanted their workouts automatically tracked. They “threw together” some prototypes, talked to a few gym owners and wrote up an LOI for purchase purposes. From this, Gymtrack was born. The company would go on to be accelerated by 500 Startups and raise a $2.5 Million Seed Round in their first year of business.

Each member that’s a part of a partnering gym receives a wristband upon signing up. They keep the cost-effective wristband with them and pick up the clip-on electronic device at the front desk each time they enter the gym. 

The childhood friends have flung themselves into what they believe is a “crazy time for the gym industry.” Lee explains that some of the most high-end gyms that they’ve visited have ten year old equipment, no technology in place to support their trainers, and are using pen and paper rather than software to track membership and usage.

Unlike Fitbit or Omsignal, Gymtrack is not a wearables company – in fact, they’re “wearable agnostic”. They’ve adapted to the reality that not everyone has their own wearable technology yet. That being said, if everyone were to purchase a smart watch tomorrow, Lee says that would be great, but that they’re also “ready for a world where wearables remain branded as high end.” Gymtrack equipment is built for the everyman and everywoman; their devices are durable, strong and made to last as you sweat it out at the gym. Further, they’re built to provide the information that the the average gymgoer is interested in.“Non professional athletes don’t typically work out based on breathing, but rather on power output, range of motion and reps and sets,” Lee explains. 

Lee credits much of Gymtrack’s success to 500 Startups, a Silicon Valley based startup accelerator. Dave McClure, founder of 500S, wrote that 500S “grooms ugly ducklings.” According to Lee, for Gymtrack, this couldn’t be more true. The co-founders found themselves as a part of a group of people that they describe as having been “pure hustle,” in a place that chooses its batch based on “who’s willing to grind it out, work until 6 am and be dropped into any situation yet find a way to make it work”. “The caliber of people that you work alongside  – from all backgrounds and walks of life – was just incredible,” Lee explains. It was there that they learnt that “the first year of building a startup feels like a month” and that “you won’t succeed unless you learn to adapt to the fast paced nature of being an entrepreneur.”Prior to 500, Gymtrack was overlooked because they were seen simply as another Fitbit. “Dave didn’t dismiss us – he gave us the opportunity to work on what wasn’t necessarily the prettiest business idea, and for that we are forever grateful.”

Up next for Gymtrack is pushing out scalable products and getting into hundreds of gyms. Having already secured partnerships with some of the largest chains in the States, they’re seeing that gyms are feeling the pressure from outside parties and apps to leverage cutting edge technology. Right before hopping off the phone, Lee closes with: “We’re helping gyms get to a place that they’ve never been before…and that is incredibly exciting.” 

Thanks to Gymtrack for sitting down with us. Stay tuned for more! 

Ella

Emma Williams
emmajjwilliams@gmail.com
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