The quarantine has revitalized at-home fitness with the thought of going to the gym several months away. As the industry embraces the shift to virtual, Playbook is the content creation platform that helps fitness instructors produce their own content, create recurring subscription revenue without the need for a studio. and build their community. The app has more than 150 trainers and includes high-profile, celebrity trainers like Don Saladino (trainer to Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds) and Boss Everline (trainer to Kevin Hart). Consumers can access fresh, original workouts and content from their favorite instructors for a single cost without having to go to hundreds of disparate channels.
AlleyWatch caught up with CEO Jeff Krahel to learn more about Playbook, the company’s recent funding, and future plans to build the Patreon for fitness content.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
Ed Baker (former head of growth at Uber), Daniel Graf (former head of product at Uber), Ryan Hoover (Product Hunt founder), Alex Chung (Giphy founder), Renaud Visage (Eventbrite cofounder), Melody McCloskey (StyleSeat founder), Brendan O’Dricoll (growth at Bird), Sam Rosen (MakeSpace founder), The Fund, One Better Ventures, and Uphonest Ventures.
Tell us about the product or service that Playbook offers.
Playbook, a mobile marketplace enabling top instructors in fitness and athletics to turn their iPhone content into a subscription income. Think Uber except “the drivers” are focused on building a subscription income.
What inspired the start of Playbook?
As a consumer, especially the younger consumer, you want to emotionally connect with and have content from our favorite instructors. You don’t want a DVD (a video filmed 14 months ago you’re forced to watch on repeat). Like social media, you want fresh authentic content and community engagement directly from the source (the creator).
How is Playbook different?
The entire industry is anchored to a film studio. You have to live locally to create content. (You have to come into Peloton’s studio to film for example). We’re unshackling the creator. Creators can create content anywhere they want in the world, on their terms and they own the content.
What market does Playbook target and how big is it?
All health, wellness, and athletics. Just in the US consumers spend $30B on gym memberships and $10B on personal training. You’re stepping into those two categories of consumer spending.
Who are your major competitors?
Watching Patreon and Twitch.
What’s your business model?
We take a small backend revenue share of the consumer’s subscription. The creator keeps the rest.
What was the funding process like?
A key lesson I learned, especially in the early innings with little traction, is to focus on investors who have industry and operational experience. Marketplace investors and operators are going to buy into your thesis more quickly than a non-marketplace investor/operator. They can relate to your thought process and approach which means they’re more likely to get involved.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Investors want to see traction. Building a marketplace takes time – the infrastructure takes time. It’s a little harder to sell “Look at the infrastructure we are building!”
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Persistence and showing progress. We’re going to do this, then delivering on it, follow-up, and repeat.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
To deliver the best experience for our users on both sides of the marketplace.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Try to be as creative as possible with cutting costs, new customers, and discussions with investors. There is opportunity out there and persistence pays.
There is opportunity out there and persistence pays.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
Focused on building great products and services. Improving the fundamentals.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
Berimbau Brazilian Kitchen in West Village.
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