The popularity of CrossFit – an exercise regimen based on natural movements – has increased so much that now there’s an app to find and book classes across the country.
In the first week of August 2017, co-founders Brent Gilmore and Katie Pietrowski teamed up to launch Highfive, a free app that connects “crossfitters” with gyms based in the U.S. and in selected foreign locations. The name of the app is the same as a previous ad tech business Gilmore worked on before having to make a tough decision.
“It went great for a while, but we just learned that ad tech is really tough,” Gilmore said about his previous business. “We were working on that and looking for other things to do.”
The occasion to switch focus from mobile advertising to CrossFit online bookings presented itself around a year ago, when Gilmore became a CrossFit enthusiast. He decided to invest part of the money he earned with his first venture in the CrossFit app, which has been bootstrapping from the very beginning.
Basically, the app is an online booking system that connects local CrossFit gyms with “crossfitters” who happen to be in the same location. When opening the app, users see the CrossFit gyms around them and can reserve a spot by opening a drop-down menu and selecting the best option among the available classes. The app is free to download for users, who can pay their booking via Apple Pay (the default payment option) or credit card.
Currently, the company makes money by taking a 20 percent cut of each transaction (Gilmore declined to disclose revenue information). The gyms that are part of the Highfive network – almost 1,000 CrossFit gyms in all 50 states, according to Gilmore – decide the charge for each class.
Basically, the CrossFit set of athletic exercises are based on natural movements that people would do in the real world, such as squatting or doing a pull-up, Gilmore explained. There are no machines involved in the training session, but an instructor is needed – hence the need to book an available spot in class if you want to maintain your CrossFit workout routine when traveling.
Gilmore said that many Highfive users are “traveling tech VPs,” who used to email CrossFit gyms in advance to reserve a spot in the class. Usually, finding the perfect match would require half an hour and several emails, as the gym might not be able to accept “drop-ins” (as CrossFit enthusiasts call the practice of stopping by a new gym and exercising with new fellows). With Highfive, Gilmore said, users can book their class instantly.
In the future, the company is planning to add more gyms to its network, especially in foreign locations. Currently, around 50 gyms included in the app are based outside the U.S. (mostly in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and a couple in South America).