New tech start-up lookfit has its eye on the $8.5 billion local...

New tech start-up lookfit has its eye on the $8.5 billion local health and fitness market

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Jason Byrne

Comparison sites are the new norm for savvy shoppers. Whether it’s booking flights, finding the right home loan, purchasing private health insurance or switching mobile service providers, there are platforms available that compare all of the options in one easy location.

Yet despite the gym industry being worth roughly $2 billion in Australia, and Aussies spending about $8.5 billion each year on gym memberships, sports equipment and the latest fitness trends, there hasn’t been a website that quickly and comprehensively compares all of the health and fitness products and services that are available. Until now.

lookfit, the iSelect of the fitness industry, is the first online comparison site that empowers consumers to be able to compare gyms, personal trainers, vitamins, supplements, weight loss products, and clothing & accessories from a single location. It currently compares in excess of 10,000 products and services from more than 350 brands, including household names like Lorna Jane, Running Bare, Swisse, Adidas and Goodlife.

What is lookfit doing differently?

“If you look at entrenched comparison sites that have been around for more than a decade such as Webjet, Wotif, Car Sales and SEEK, they all have one thing in common: they had the first mover advantage,” said Jason Byrne, founder and CEO of lookfit.

“lookfit has the same first mover advantage for the highly fragmented health and fitness industry, which puts us in the enviable position of being able to capture a significant slice of this massive market from the get-go.”

The start-up boasts a unique win-win model that benefits both consumers and product providers. From the consumer’s end, it’s free to use and eliminates the pain of having to trawl through numerous websites to find the best deal possible for their health and fitness needs. For product and service providers, it offers a virtual sales solution and alternative customer acquisition avenue.

lookfit platformReady for investors’ bucks

lookfit is a recent graduate of the esteemed HCF Catalyst Slingshot accelerator program, and to date, it has raised seed funding from venture capitalists and various high net-worth individuals. It is looking to raise a further $1 million that will fund further national expansion, scalability and marketing initiatives.

The extraordinary potential offered by the platform has snared the interest of various industry heavy hitters who have joined lookfit’s advisory board, including Andrew Campbell, former CEO and co-founder of GoCatch, Mike Britton, founder and CEO of Evolution to Wellbeing (one of Australia’s largest bootcamps), and Mike Boyd, CEO of VroomVroomVroom.

“lookfit has the potential to significantly change the health and fitness industry. It’s a highly scalable business model, and while it only soft launched a few weeks ago, it has already demonstrated strong early sales traction,” said Andrew Campbell.

What is the story behind lookfit?

Having played tennis at an elite level throughout his teenage years, Founder and CEO Jason Byrne had always been very physically active and passionate about health and fitness.

After attending UQ, Jason worked for a number of years in Sydney as an Investment Banker and developed a very strong analytical background as well as a sharp commercial acumen.

lookfit was born in February 2015 after Jason encountered a great deal of difficulty when trying to compare different fitness options. “I was a former investment banker and decided to take an entrepreneurial path due to a personal experience,” he told Anthill.

“When I quit investment banking I looked at where I could elimate some costs. When doing this exercise, I noticed that I was spending a lot on a gym membership, as well as numerous vitamins, supplements and fitness apparel.

“So I then took my search to the internet to try and find some cheaper alternatives and I actually had a lot of difficulty trying to compare products and services. This was because the products were complex, pricing was opaque and the information was in a lot of different places due to the highly fragmented nature of the industry.

“This was how lookfit was born – I spotted a gap in the market to help consumers save time, money and make a better informed decision about their health and fitness by being able to compare thousands of different products and services all in one location.”

The first mover advantage is key

Jason did research after the initial lightbulb moment. lookfit has a first mover advantage which provides a considerable competitive advantage. Being the first online comparison provider for the entire health and fitness industry gives lookfit an opportunity to create an unassailable position in the market.

This first mover advantage is of paramount importance for an online marketplace and is demonstrated by household names such as Webjet, Wotif, iSelect, Car Sales, SEEK and Real Estate.com. These companies have all been around for over a decade and have entrenched their position as market leaders in their respective verticals due to a first mover advantage.

In relation to the opportunity that lookfit presents, online aggregators have been around since the dawn of the century, but never before has there been one in the fitness space. You’ve got your usual suspects like Webjet, Wotif and Skyscanner for travel, iSelect and Comparethemarket for insurance, Finder for financial products and the list goes on.

The fitness space actually shares all of the same underlying characteristics that make aggregators successful in those other industries. This being the fact that the products and services are complex, the pricing is incredibly opaque and the market is highly fragmented making it not only very difficult but also incredibly time consuming for people to locate and decipher this information.

The market that lookfit operates in is enormous -globally, over $2 trillion dollars per year is spent on fitness. Lookfit’s addressable market size is the purely online portion of this which is 5% equating to $100 billion dollars and growing strongly. The timing is right. It’s 2016 and everyone is incredibly health and fitness focused and are searching online for fitness information.

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