Who is an entrepreneur who does not want to come up with a solution or product that no one has thought of before? In this series, entrepreneurs talk about the gap in the market they’ve discovered and their way there. This time: Lars has created a sensor and an app that lets you track your progress in the gym.
- what or what: Gymstory, a digital fitness platform that tracks your progress via sensors on fitness equipment
- Creator: Lars van der Waal
- since then: 2018
How did you come up with this idea?
“Fitness is the biggest sport activity in our country, more than 2 million Dutch have a gym subscription. But people find it difficult to keep track of their results. Almost everything is analog, with notebooks and filling forms. Almost nothing in the gym is digital, Only cardio equipment, while you have digital resources for outdoor sports like running and cycling, like tracking apps.”
“When I wanted to lose weight, I found out how useful the running app was. I couldn’t get fit in the gym. But when I started with this app, I lost 15 kilos in a short time. Hire a personal trainer who can help you, but not everyone is ready or able to bear it. Then I thought: There must be something that can be done.”
From idea to product: how does it work?
“I knew there had to be a sensor that could record how much weight you moved and how often you did it, but I’m not a technical person myself. Then I started asking friends from high school who I knew went to technical universities. One of those friends, Matthew Warsen, was impressed. With the idea. With Michael Fahim the entire team, he designed the software. Together we developed a sensor that could be placed on equipment in the gym. And an app that could communicate with it.”
“We ran the first tests for a year. We’re now ready for the platform to be market-ready. We’ve also found a sports series that wants to work with us. We’ll install sensors on the devices there.”
“I never see bears on the road, I always think of the possibilities.”
Did the process always go smoothly?
“Since the corona crisis, there has been a huge shortage of computer chips. As a result, more time has been spent producing sensors. The costs of chips have also gone up exponentially many times. You see that coming. Be creative, because you want to find a cheaper solution.”
“Ultimately, I never see bears on the road, I always think of the possibilities. From the start I’ve always believed this would work. Our product is scalable, and we can easily grow. Our inspiration is Strava, their running and cycling app is now used 100” Million people all over the world. If we get 10 percent of that number of users, that would be a huge success.”
What has entrepreneurship taught you so far?
“Before I started this, I used to work in large companies. There I had much less freedom to fill in my work myself. In the start-up company, you do almost everything yourself and constantly learn new skills, which I really enjoy. Now I know what it’s like to have fun Really your job. During my vacation I felt like going back to work, I had never done it before.”
“The great thing about the Netherlands is that it is an ideal market to test your product.”
What are your future plans?
“Our platform will be launching officially soon, and from then on we’ll really go wild. I expect it’s going to be crazy and we’ll have to produce more sensors. We know that can take a lot of time and the sensors also have to be installed.”
“If everything goes as we hope, we eventually want to cross the border. In the Netherlands, there are only a few sports chains that have the means to innovate. The great thing about the Netherlands is that it is an ideal market for testing. If your product works here, you know it is. It will likely work in other European countries as well.”
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