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How Gympass Got the Business World in Tip-Top Shape?


If there’s one thing our community can benefit from, it’s undoubtedly exercising. After all, living in a world that has us chained to a desk for most of the day calls for shaking off the tension and putting that body to good use.

No one understood the need to maintain a strong body mindfully like Cesar Carvalho, a Brazilian entrepreneur whose passion for sports and contributing transcended onto a fabulous exercise platform - Gympass!

Positively changing people’s perspectives on workouts, Gympass mainly serves businesses whose employees could benefit from an hour or two of active workouts. Gympass combines the best of personal and individual training practices, fitness apps, yoga sessions, and even meditation and mental health classes, all to ensure its users’ maximum health, performance, and quality of life!

Read the story of the man who was not only brought up by the idea of sports but also ensured that everyone else joins along on his quality workout adventure!

Nontraditional Beginnings

Cesar comes from a very traditional Brazilian area and was born and raised in Minas Gerais. Located in southeastern Brazil, the town didn’t offer any job prospects for the youth other than the traditional industries- agriculture and factories.

As a child, Cesar never looked at a birther future with hope but had always dreamed about leaving the small town mentality for urban and widespread success. Like any other kid, Cesar had his own unripe ambitions for the future, but his reality at the time was much different and far less promising.

Growing up in Minas Gerais, Cesar used to spend his pastime playing in the coffee fields, walking in nature, and helping his parents run their small coffee workshop. While the majority of Cesar's friends strived to preserve the family business of selling coffee and milk, the latter was already evaluating his opportunities - waiting elsewhere.

Throughout his teenage years, Cesar was showing a huge talent for sports, and actively played street football, basketball, tennis, and basically, anything that let him compete, challenge himself - and win. At the same time, Cesar also had an affinity for leadership and loved the idea of creating a business outside coffee and sports.

As this passion for success is what stuck, Cesar began reading books and articles on how to succeed faster and leave his imprint on the business world.

Progress Takes Time

In 2003, Cesar officially packed his bags and left Minas Gerais for vibrant São Paulo. After leaving his hometown, Cesar had nothing else to aim his time at other than studying. One of the first things he did when he arrived in the city was to visit the Sao Paulo University, at the time considered among the best facilities for research, teaching, and, Cesar’s favorite, business.

A year later, in 2004, Cesar left for the Netherlands to upgrade his comprehension of business and joined Tilburg University to study international business for the next two years. He returned to Sao Paulo in 2006 to complete his education and earned his Bachelor’s Business degree by 2007.

With the right skills in his pocket, Cesar began looking for prosperous working opportunities next and worked at CVC and AC Nielsen, two of the most impactful financial and marketing giants. As for paving his own path, Cesar was yet to learn the drill of owning an individual business.

Once in a Lifetime Opportunity

After leaving Nielsen in 2008, Cesar got a job offer as a consultant at McKinsey, a world-famous consultant company for investments and business. But, one of the requirements to work there was to have an MBA from a university in the USA. That served as yet another great motive to improve for Cesar, who then enrolled at Harvard Business School and began to both study and work at McKinsey.

However, working and studying combined required a lot of traveling for Cesar, from Brazil to the US and back. Interestingly, this ineptness to figure out a functioning schedule was what birthed the idea of Gympass in Cesar's mind. One day, he noticed that not only he didn’t have time to travel between two continents at once, he also had three gym memberships activated but never used. As a former sportsman, Cesar hated the idea of only working and studying but never taking time for himself.

The idea slowly began to unravel and soon it became a full-on concept that waited to be officialized. Business-wise, back at Harvard, Cesar had met with various investors who were eager to invest in a promising startup.

Caesar was standing at a crossroads for the first time in his life. He could do one of two things: go back to school and hope for the best, or forget all about school and start thinking all about business. After much contemplation, Cesar chose the latter.

Fitness Facilities of Another Kind

Cesar perceived physical inactivity as a global problem, especially in the corporate climate. Due to this, he believed that his business idea would resolve a major problem for many eager athletes and workout enthusiasts.

In 2012, Cesar officially launched Gympass as a way of contributing to the neglected world of employees craving to train. The launch happened as soon as Cesar left Harvard, with the platform initially operating as B2C - business to customer - service.

Shortly after, Cesar decided to stick to his original idea and make exercising available for many business employees, so he transformed Gympass’s concept to a B2B, or business to business, service. The change was also initiated as a result of one corporate manager who offered Cesar to pay full membership for all of his company employees. Then and there, Cesar knew that a B2B model was the best solution for running Gympass.

Gympass offers users a myriad of private physical and mindful practices, like yoga, meditation, personal training sessions, and CrossFit, to name a few. Regardless of the activity chosen, business employees countrywide could have the opportunity to exercise wherever they wanted.

Gympass lets its users choose if they want to exercise in a gym, a fitness studio, or other workout facilities, and serves its clients 24\7. Aside from targeting exercise studios for businesses, Gympass develops customized training strategies for its users, too. It also executes personalized nutritional plans and workout apps, so everyone can make it to their training session - on time and from home!

Company Challenges, Funding, and Facts

Over the years, the platform has raised a total funding amount of $300 million, with 12 investors, over 5 rounds. Its latest funding was in June 2019. The most recent, and maybe the biggest investors of the company are SoftBank Vision Fund and Atomico.

However, financials were never a challenge for Gympass, not like other things were. Namely, in 2017, the company first broke the US market, which is also when it met its maximum workforce and noticed huge shortcomings in both facilities and staffers.

The competitive US market also urged the company to become more innovative, which got Cesar thinking about ways to solve the deficits. By the end of 2019, in two years’ time, Gympass would double its technology staff and add 230 hires to its payroll. As for innovation, the company introduced aspects of AI to their service, in order to automate recommendations and workout options among clients and lock in their loyalty.

The company also acquired over 47,000 accredited gyms in the US alone, and in the future, plans on adding another 35,000 studios, gyms, and fitness companies to its repertoire.

Gympass, Today

Today, Gympass has over 1,000 employees and its HQ is located in New York. Gympass tends to 2000+ clients worldwide and is spread across 14 countries and has partnered up with over 50,000 gyms and fitness studio partners. As for its creator, Cesar Carvalho has received the Young Leader Award from CEO Connection in 2019.

Cesar’s goal with Gympass is to help all the more corporations to accelerate the individual performance of employees, keep them motivated, and unleash their full potential by paying special attention to their physical and mental condition.

Post-pandemic, the platform understood people’s need to address their health more. To indulge them with a solution, Gympass plans on expanding its service with three new offers: wellness, live-streamed classes, and one-on-one personal training.

With a monthly starter-pack cost of $9.99 per employee, Gympass meets the criteria for affordability, whereas its unlimited access to 24 crucial wellness apps ensures whoever uses it comes back to the office stronger, sharper, and happier!