While the start-up’s strength is its Facebook fitness community, it has now launched offline centres in six cities to cater to a wider audience.
Launched in January 2016, SQUATS started as a community on Facebook to address the challenges plaguing the fitness industry at a time when misinformation, distrust, unaccountability, unsatisfactory results, quick-fix solutions, and fad diets were ruining the industry’s reputation. An acronym for ‘Systematic Quantitative Unified Aesthetic Transformation System’, it has emerged as a revolutionary forum of around 4,50,000 health and fitness enthusiasts who help and support each other’s fitness journeys.
“Our core strength is still the SQUATS Facebook fitness community which is expanding by the day. The members follow the free fitness programmes pinned in the page, post fitness related queries and our qualified fitness experts answers them with best possible solutions. Complementing them is a 12-hour on-call support where INFS certified fitness consultants answer queries of the members,” says Jitendra Chouksey, co-founder and director, SQUATS. Chouksey, along with Jyoti Dabas, Rohit Chattopadhyay, Sonal Singh and Bala Krishna Reddy started the company with an initial capital of Rs 90,000.
Chouksey says that the Pune-based fitness start-up’s key differentiator is that it creates solutions that serve its clients first and make fitness easy and accessible for them. “We educate our clients and help them understand their bodies better, empowering and motivating them to take action. We believe in lifestyle changes, and that’s what we try to imbibe in our clients in every step of their transformation journey,” he says. “For all those members who want but minimal guidance and can follow a fit lifestyle on their own, we encourage them to use the page and implement the knowledge. If someone needs in-person professional guidance, they then enroll with fitness consultants available on the website for varied fitness packages offered for a nominal fee and we guide them with detailed nutrition and workout regimen.”
SQUATS’s strategy seems to be paying off. With 120-plus consultants on board and 45 full-time employees, it earned a gross revenue of Rs 21.29 crore in 2017-18. It is now targetting a revenue growth of 82% to touch Rs 40 crore in 2018-19. Its recent debut offline through a chain of wellness centres is expected to help in this. While it has been largely catering to people in the 25-30 age group online, 30% of whom are NRIs, SQUATS launched more than 10 diet and wellness offline centres across Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Pune, Raipur and Bangalore in July.
“The aim is to reach out to those who prefer face-to-face counseling. By next year, we are targeting 120-plus centres across India including tier 3 cities,” says Chouksey. “Our motive is to make this task of staying fit and healthy extremely easy, even for someone living in a far-flung corner of India. We are also in talks with gym aggregators for a strategic stake for the benefit of our customers.”