Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Alumnae Create an App for Fitness... and Offer a Special Promotion to NYU Alumni

According to the Huffington Post, 2012 health trends were partly defined by the use of boutique spinning classes and CrossFit, and 2013 will bring a much bigger rise in "boutique fitness studios for every discipline."

FitMapped is a fitness tool that adapts to this latest trend in how city dwellers are working out. As small fitness boutiques (like yoga, Pilates, spin, martial arts, etc.) become more popular, alumnae Anita Mirchandani (CAS '04) and Michelle Velasquez (CAS '03) realized the need for an "aggregated and easy to search database where anyone could search for their next workout... Users can search for any studio, gym, or recreation center by neighborhood, type and price."

We had the chance to talk with Anita about FitMapped and what it's like to spearhead an online start-up as a self-proclaimed "non-techie." 

***Also, for the next 24 hours, FitMapped will be offering a promotion to NYU Alumni: If you download their free mobile app and use the code "NYUALUM" you will be entered to win a 1 month supply of Pop Chips + 1 VIP voucher to Exhale Spa + 2 30-min sessions with Anita, FiTMAPPED's in-house R.D. Promotion will expire at 11:59PM on 2/13/13.***

NYU Arts & Science Alumni Relations: What was the biggest challenge you faced in launching FitMapped?

Anita Mirchandani: Our biggest challenge, as non-techies and 1st time entrepreneurs, was learning the ropes of starting a tech based company – from understanding SEO to balancing a company budget. It has been a steep learning curve, but we have grown so much as a team from all of the bumps along the way.  We know that it is all about the journey, and we are enjoying the challenges that we face along the way to success.

FitMapped is currently available for NYC and LA. In “mapping” these two cities, did you notice any differences between their attitudes towards fitness?

Not really, there are fitness fanatics everywhere!  We have found that boutique fitness has exploded in both cities, but perhaps for different reasons. New Yorkers (especially type-A young professionals) see trying tough classes as a challenge and a “sweat”-working opportunity.  In LA, likely because of the weather, fitness seekers tend to seek out boutique workouts to supplement an active outdoor lifestyle – particularly those who live closer to the Pacific.

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurial alumni who have a great idea for an online start-up?

Talk to as many people who will listen to you and offer advice.  Our list of people who have been instrumental in both shaping our idea and teaching us the ins and outs of starting a company is pages long - if we had to write a thank you speech it would last longer than the Oscars.  If you do not know who to talk to, we recommend getting involved with the many organizations (i.e General Assembly) out there that help entrepreneurs and attend seminars, networking events, etc.  You would be surprised at how many people there are out there who are not only willing to offer advice, but are truly excited to help you succeed.  At NYU, there are many resources including the bi-annual Entrepreneur Festival and the annual Women's Entrepreneur Festival through the ITP program. 

If an alum has a fitness location they would like to submit to FitMapped, who should they contact?

Please contact inquiry@fitmapped.com.

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