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Get Fit, Get Beautiful

5 February 2016

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KFit’s series A funding round isn’t the only big news from the company this week. KFit founder and CEO Joel Neoh tells Tech in Asia in a phone interview that the company is branching out into new areas, starting with massage, spa, and beauty services.

He says the new offerings are a logical extension of KFit’s business, which takes its cue from ClassPass in the US. Founded in April last year, Kuala Lumpur-based KFit helps people find gym and fitness classes and get unlimited access to them for a fixed fee.

The goal is to become a holistic wellness platform that goes beyond fitness.

“That’s the challenge for us – how do we create that habit and make it sticky?”

Joel, who used to head Groupon’s Asia-Pacific operations, tells us the decision to go into beauty services first was largely driven by the demographics of KFit’s user base.

“We realized a lot of them – around 65-70 percent – are female, affluent professionals, who also go to the spa, have their mani-pedi, and get their hair done. So we thought why not create those categories?” he says.

It’s also a way for them to combat their “main competition,” which is really their customer’s time. For KFit’s business to keep achieving traction, it needs to create the habit of exercising.

“People would always complain about how they don’t have the time to exercise. That’s the challenge for us – how do we create that habit and make it sticky? Our hypothesis is when we start to link up local services in a particular area, it will help people manage their time better. For example, if a customer goes for a massage – no one misses a massage – he or she can decide to exercise or do yoga first. So we have to tie in more leisure-oriented activities,” Joel explains.

He didn’t say what the pricing model for these new services would be, although he said the value proposition for potential partners remains the same.

Currently, KFit charges a fixed fee, a percentage of which goes to the company and the balance to gym and fitness studio owners. Owners have everything to gain since they’re tapping new customers for additional income and offering empty capacity they wouldn’t have earned from otherwise, according to Joel.

KFit will probably move into more verticals this year, but Joel says this depends on the success of the new ones they’ve just added. “We’re experimenting. Let’s see how it works.”

The focus will most certainly be on local services.

Conquering new cities

KFit is available in 10 cities across Asia-Pacific, including Singapore, Taipei, Seoul, and Manila. It’s also already available in Auckland and Perth following a merger with competitors in New Zealand and Australia.

Joel says Southeast Asia is a “very exciting” region for the startup, hinting that it could expand to Bangkok and Jakarta next. Jakarta is where KFit’s new investor Venturra Capital is based.

The team is looking at cities rather than countries because they want to be in areas where there’s a large concentration of quality gyms and fitness studios.

KFit could also enter new cities by mergers and acquisitions like it did in Auckland and Perth. “We’re always very open to M&A as long as it’s in line with our vision. We don’t have a specific M&A playbook, but if we find like-minded teams, then we can consider it.”

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