Disrupting the wellness market in Egypt wasn’t enough for entrepreneurs Nabil Rostom and Norshek Fawzy. With the Middle East’s first personalised fitness programme under their belts, they’re moving on to launch Jumpsuite – a global platform for trainees to meet their ideal trainer.
What happens when an Egyptian startup surpasses national borders, outshining a market where competition is scarce? They create their own competitors. That’s what fitness wizzes Nabil Rostom and Norshek Fawzy set out to do with their freshly launched startup, Jumpsuite. The entrepreneurs – founders of The Wellnes Log and partners in crime in a lifestyle where raising two toddlers and embarking on a global project do not seemingly collide – have just unveiled their innovative new fitness marketplace.
Jumpsuite runs through a platform where trainers and nutritionists can sell their customised fitness programmes to an eager audience based worldwide. “We are not only partnering with The Wellness Log competitors; we are creating our own competition,” Rostom explains.
Their first brain child, The Wellness Log, is an online fitness programme provider that has racked 2,000 active users in less than two years since its inception, having recently reached the finals at the Riseup Summit’s 'Get in the Ring' competition. Now, as they expand both their reach and goal, the entrepreneurs set off to start in the UAE, where they set up Jumpsuite.
“With The Wellness Log, it was very strange because, once we started, we got orders from all around the world – from Belgium to the UK to UAE – as no one else does what The Wellness Log does,” Fawzy explains. “Our vision is to put the software we built and turn it into a marketplace to empower other trainers around the world so that they can offer their services, no matter what their geographical location is,” says Fawzy.
Arriving to the interview packed with baby gear and their restless one-year-old, the duo looks forward to an exciting 2016. “We have just launched the site’s beta version, and we will announce the app very soon,” says Rostom. The team has partnered with former Google strategist Kareem Abou Gamrah and set up the company in Abu Dhabi, recruiting half their trainers in the UAE as the country’s diverse population allows them to tap into a global customer base. “There is a huge expat community in Emirates, and the network rippled to different countries. We now have 20 trainers hailing from Egypt, US, UK, Russia, UAE, and Kuwait,” Fawzy says.
However, the fitness superwoman explains that the difference between Jumpsuite and The Wellness Log does not merely lie in the global character of the platform. “With The Wellness Log, we were content providers; we have the know-how and provide you with a plan. At Jumpsuite, on the contrary, we provide tools for vendors to create programmes. Clients can now navigate the marketplace based on views, preferences, and ratings of other customers,” she says.
For the regular customer, The Wellness Log will now stand as one of many different options where an Olympic Russian trainer, a London-based CrossFit conditioning trainer, and an Egyptian tennis coach will all offer fitness enthusiasts the best fit for their choice. “The idea is that, whether you are vegan, like yoga, or prefer to condition for marathons, you will find an option to suit your needs,” she adds. “We never claim that we change your lifestyle, but we sneak into your existing lifestyle and tweak it into a healthier one. You tell us what you can do, and we help you organise your workout and nutrition.”
Their app comes at a moment defined by many as a turning point, tapping into a market shift that is seeing fitness and lifestyle trends permeate across industries powered by tech, from the rise of athleisure in fashion, to the upsurge of healthy DIY cuisine apps such as Easy Pan and Just Cook. “People are becoming more health conscious. Things that were considered a trend in the past two years have proven not to be just a trend,” Rostom says. “What’s changing are tools, whether it is CrossFit or yoga; but the turning point is that people are more aware and include fitness as part of their lives.”
The rise of tech-geared fitness tools crystallises a shift in what he terms the “one-size-fits-all model.” “There have been lots of awareness campaigns and there is more accessibility of information, so you can no longer bullshit people, telling them they will lose 20 kilos in four weeks. It doesn’t work anymore,” Fawzy adds.
“People became aware that not everyone is the same; even preferences are different, so people need a personalised approach,” Rostom explains. “So the business trend now is how to commercialise personalisation.”
The company launched their beta version on January 3rd, after graduating from an incubation programme powered by Flat6Labs Abu Dhabi, whose training and mentorship granted them the attention of global giants such as Y Combinator, known for having kick-started Airbnb. “It was a compressed mentorship that really reflected on the product. We went in with a very different mentality regarding the product roadmap, and by the time we graduated we got the attention of internationally leading accelerators,” Rostom says.
Kicking off with a seed fund of $35,000, the entrepreneurs are opening the first round of investment in mid-February and have recently hit 1,000 sign-ups on the site. “We are measuring different metrics. We will be monitoring subscriptions, usability, number of downloads, and retention rate. It’s a one-purchase product,” he says.
As they gear up to launch next March, the team is calling for trainers and nutritionists from all countries to join the platform, joining an army of fitness professionals – from yoga trainers to clinical nutritionists. “Our objective is to empower them to reach more clients. Once they are on the platform, they have global reach. We are trying to be as diverse as possible, to cater to yogis and athletes alike,” Rostom says.
You can check out their Facebook page here or follow them on Instagram @jumpsuite.io.
Photography by @MO4network #MO4productions.
Photographers: Ahmed Najeeb and Lobna Derbala.