When Ben Young and Greg Coleman met their business partner, Ryan Hanna, he'd already designed the framework a workout app as a project to teach himself coding. Young and Coleman had a workout app of their own, called Nexercise. They teamed up with Hanna to start Sworkit when it was clear there was synergy and opportunity. We'll see if the Sharks think there is an investment opportunity when Sworkit jumps into the Shark Tank in episode 717.
Sworkit is basically like having a personal trainer on your smart phone. It takes users through a five-minute to over an hour-long workout that contains 3 fitness components: aerobic, strength & resistance, and flexibility. This is done with a series of exercises that require no special fitness equipment or weights. All you need to do is set the time limit of your workout in the workout app interface and then do the exercises along with the app.
Rated as one of the top five workout apps in the world, Sworkit boasts around 10 million downloads and 110,000,000 “fitness minutes used.” It's free, but the paid version ($2.99 a month or $19.99 a year) has no advertising and some extras that let you customize and save workouts. The app is available for download on both Apple and Android devices and they just introduced a kids version.
My Take on a Workout App
Like many people, my wife and I made a New Years resolution to get into better shape. We've been walking more and doing a bit of biking, but she wants to add an exercise routine to the mix. She wants us to do it together so we'll push each other. When I showed her the Sworkit workout app (which I downloaded), she thought it would fit the bill. She was looking at buying some workout CDs, but she liked Sworkit so much, she tabled that idea.
We started with a 10 minute workout yesterday (Presidents Day) and we plan on gradually bumping the time limit up in 5 minute intervals along with the app. It was pretty basic stretching, jumping jacks, planks, etc. A lovely female voice with a British accent gave the instructions. Each exercise lasts 30-60 seconds with 5 minutes in between. You can even set background music for your workouts from Spotify.
We both enjoyed exercising together – we've never exercised this way with each other in nearly 20 years together. Having the app helps, because it keeps you on track. It really is like having a personal trainer. We are both IN!
Will Sharks Workout a Deal?
Apps are a tough business, even for smart guys like Mr. Young and Mr. Coleman (they're both Wharton MBA grads). Thousands of apps litter the landscape and there are hundreds of fitness apps available on iTunes. Sworkit is rated near the top on just about every list out there because it is closely aligned with the American College of Sports Medicine’s training guidelines. Whether that fact impresses the Sharks remains to be seen.
Since they have close to 10 million downloads, they've been able to penetrate the workout app market. The Sharks will want to know how many premium (paid) users they have. If the sales numbers are there now, they'll also need to show how they'll grow the Sworkit business and how they'll add value and make more money with other apps.
The Sworkit website and social media pages aren't making a huge deal out of the Shark Tank appearance, so I'm predicting the Sharks take a pass on this one. I'll be posting about my personal experiences with Sworkit periodically to keep folks posted on my progress!