Co-founder Payal Kadakia (ClassPass)
In an effort to take advantage of the healthy lifestyle trend, new studios in large cities offer hundreds of opportunities to take classes in exercise or dance. The biggest problem? Getting the word out.
ClassPass, a new startup valued at more than $200 million, aims to solve that problem by offering a universal class subscription service through its website.
For a monthly fee, subscribers have access to thousands of classes – everything from cycling to yoga to dance. That means users can log on to the site, view available classes in their city, and reserve a spot without paying an additional fee.
Studios make a deal with ClassPass to accept their users for a lower price (paid by the company) in exchange for advertising their classes on the ClassPass site. There’s a “3-class limit” per studio, but otherwise the ClassPass allows each subscriber to take as many classes as they want per month. The monthly subscription service requires no annual commitment.
“It was my passion for dance and entrepreneurship that led to the founding of ClassPass,” co-founder and CEO Payal Kadakia told Opportunity Lives. “The idea was born out of frustration when I found it difficult to easily find a studio that offered dance classes in NYC.”
Since then, the company has grown rapidly. According to Kadakia, ClassPass is now in 30 U.S. cities, London, and Canada with 3,000 studios in the ClassPass network. Customers have booked more than 2 million reservations through the service.
According to Kadakia’s interview
with the Wall Street Journal,
ClassPass made $5 million in revenue last month alone. Most of this revenue has gone to paying the studios that offered the classes.
“I think the biggest surprise that appeared while running a startup is the amount of times that the original idea has transformed since the beginning,” said Kadakia. She’s referring to the initial idea for ClassPass, a struggling company called Classivity. Classivity was designed more as a database of different classes. But a one-time promotional offer helped the co-founders realize that a variety pass was the real hit, and they revised their business model to what it is today.
The future could take many different paths too. “ClassPass can still change at any given moment and I think that’s what is most exciting about running a business,” said Kadakia. She is optimistic about the company’s fantastic growth and looks forward to what’s next.
“The best advice I have ever received was from my father,” said Kadakia. “He always encouraged me to embrace change and that I shouldn’t fight it. This advice stayed with me and has encouraged me to believe in myself regardless of what comes up.”
It’s clear that Kadakia has built a successful company so far, and it will be exciting to watch what the future holds for ClassPass.