We are doing a series of Q&A features around Austin-based companies that are launching their company or their product at SXSW 2014. If you’d like to be featured as well, please use the Submit News button. Today’s feature is with Truong-An, from FitChimp.
Q: Explain what you do in a way that my third grader can understand?
FitChimp is an interactive “micro-gym” that enable employees to step away from their desk and engage in energy boosting and pain reducing 2-5 minute micro-workouts without needing to change clothes or shower. Why? We are increasingly sedentary: Sitting for 9+ hours a day, slumping over our computer keyboard, with less time to engage in fitness activities. Our combined lack of “moving” has decreased our productivity by $225 Billion per year, increased employer health insurance costs, and led to a significant increase of chronic diseases and pain for employees (diabetes, cancer, lower back/neck pain). FitChimp provides an easy-to-rollout workplace wellness solution.
Q: What makes FitChimp unlike other wellness programs?
Before creating FitChimp we looked at the plethora of wellness solutions available, but found that regardless of the solution…..there was an overall lack of participation (<20%). We researched the barriers to participation, and created FitChimp specifically to remove those barriers. FitChimp does not require you to change clothes, shower, go to the gym, or find a trainer….we bring the gym and the trainer to you in a fun interactive package (yes, we said “fun”). Our technology allows us to create custom workouts for all interests and ability levels: whether you have lower back pain, need a pre tee-time stretch, or need a post-sales-meeting de-stressor.
Q: What was your “lightbulb” moment when you knew you had something?
Our hypothesis and hope was that if we removed the common barriers to wellness we would see an increase in participation. Some of our early customers have achieved over 60% participation over a 3-month period. Hearing positive feedback from a range of backgrounds has been great: Busy Moms who don’t have time to go to the gym, software developers who have eliminated neck and back pain, and runners who are preventing injuries with strengthening exercises…..The best was a programmer who said that FitChimp “worked significantly better than dumping coffee into his skull at 3pm.”
Q: Who are the hard working geniuses behind the company?
Dr. Trung Nguyen, Patrick Hitchins and Truong-An Thai are co-founders of FitChimp and we are all passionate about fitness and tech startups, specifically in the area of workplace wellness. It is really all about impacting the lives of average office workers that have to work more hours and are increasingly desk-bound. These are the hard working folks who by demands of their careers and lives, simply don’t have time to squeeze hours of fitness, showering, and changing clothes into their schedule. We have the right team and credentials to make a strong impact in workplace wellness, but our users will help shape our product and engagement in a way that will help millions of office workers world-wide.
Q: We’ll know we made it when:
Our mission is to remove barriers to wellness participation while improving the health, happiness and productivity of employees in their professional and personal life. Although we have full intention to expand nationally, we’d love to make a contribution to making Austin one of the healthiest/fittest city in America. We are thankful for the feedback and enthusiasm we’ve received from the employees of many of Austin’s top workplaces….they are helping us improve our product and concept.
Q: Who are some of your first customers?
Some of our early customers are Austin employers such as SpareFoot, Oppenheimer, Flocasts, Hoovers, Livestrong, and CSID.