Arushi Verma, Co-founder & Director of FITPASS, India’s largest fitness network

Arushi Verma

Interview with Arushi Verma, Co-founder & Director of FITPASS, India’s largest fitness network

Arushi Verma, Co-founder & Director, FITPASS launched her brand along with her sibling & co-founder Akshay Verma in 2015 with a vision of making wellness and fitness easily accessible to people of this country through the fit-tech platform.

It was passion led by some personal life situations that made  them realize their calling. Their common belief in social welfare, and understanding Indian citizens’ lack of accessibility to fitness & health made them turn their passion into their entrepreneurial venture.

It was during the year 2013-2014 when Arushi had the first thoughts of setting up her own company where she could be involved in transforming the lives of people resulting in the betterment of the society.

10 years down the line she  has realized her dreams and with the same fervor and passion is still working  towards making the community feel and look better!

Over the last seven years,  this young entrepreneur has been leading the product, operations and marketing of FITPASS, India’s largest fit-tech company.

Her enthusiasm, attention-to-detail and zeal to grow FITPASS with creative ideas and solutions is reflected in the company’s growth in such a short span.

FITPASS is single-handedly making fitness accessible to millions of Indians through its proprietary app-based universal fitness membership to a network of 5500+ premium gyms and fitness studios across India, in-app A.I. led personalized fitness coaching, personal dedicated nutritionist services and more.

FITPASS is India’s largest all in one platform offering fitness and wellness solutions, and is also a full-stack corporate wellbeing platform that ignites, fuels and personalizes each individual’s journey to feel good and be well.

Leading Corporates rely on the fit-tech brand to support the health and happiness of their employees and families through unmatched variety, convenience, and flexibility uniquely offered by the brand.

While working with ASER and the World Bank at the ground level, Arushi got inspired by the thought of working towards bettering the society.

And what better than providing the people the best gift they could give themselves, i. e., to help them remain healthy and fit.

Thus, the motive behind establishing FITPASS was to render it a one stop solution for everything fitness – be it working out, going to a fitness center, exercising at home, providing the right kind of nutrition or creating an ecosystem where one can get the whole shebang one needs to get fit and stay fit – guidance, access, assistance and many other benefits.

Arushi is an aspirational and an ambitious business leader with more than 12 years of experience in the startup sector, World Bank, Planning Commission of India, among others.

Highly skilled in Data Analysis, Business Development, Research, Business Strategy, Corporate Communication and Team Management, she holds a Master’s Degree in Development Economics from School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and B.A. (Honors) Economics from Delhi University.

Tell us a little about yourself

Arushi Verma: I graduated from Delhi University with an Honours degree in Economics. Additionally, I have a Postgraduate degree in Development Economics from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

My mother is a Professor at Delhi University and a distinguished nanoscientist specializing in Diabetes, Tuberculosis and Cancer Research.

My father, on the other hand, is a retired IAS officer, who has held several senior positions for 37 years both in the Central Government Ministries and Bihar Government Departments.

Growing up, I have always been inspired by their remarkable achievements and the impact they have made in their respective fields.

My brother, who is also my co-founder at FITPASS, has been an unwavering support throughout my journey.

We share a profound bond and have collaborated closely to establish our Fit-Tech brand. Our dinner table has served as an open forum for discussions, where we engage in conversations about our daily struggles and celebrate our accomplishments.

In 2007, whilst in college, I embarked on my professional journey and dedicated my efforts to teaching basic reading and writing to children in the slums of Delhi.

After completing my post-graduation, I returned to India and had the opportunity to work closely with the esteemed Planning Commission, contributing my skills and expertise to their initiatives in the Health Sector.

From 2012 to 2014, I worked as a Research Associate at the ASER Centre, where I was actively engaged in the findings for the ASER Report (Annual Survey of Education Report).

It was an enriching experience where I got to travel across the country and assess and understand the education and health levels of children in the 6-14 age group.

Continuing my career trajectory, I joined the World Bank Group as a Consultant from 2014 to 2015. This role provided me with the platform to collaborate on significant projects and offer valuable insights to the organization on Private Sector Development in the Textile Industry in Bihar.

In 2015, my entrepreneurial spirit propelled me to take a leap of faith, and I founded my own company. It was an exciting time, as I embarked on the journey of establishing a venture that would later evolve into the renowned fitness and wellness company known as FITPASS.

The year 2015 holds a special place in my heart, as it marked the official launch of FITPASS. Together with my brother, Akshay Verma, we created a seamless network of gyms and fitness studios, driven by the vision of making fitness accessible and affordable for all individuals.

Can you share with us the journey of co-founding FITPASS and how it has grown to become India’s largest fitness network

Arushi Verma: The idea behind FITPASS was simple: “Working out should work out.” We started FITPASS in 2015 when India was still solving for “Roti (Zomato), Kapda (Amazon), Makaan (” and conveyance (Ola/Uber).

Fitness was considered a luxury, something only the lucky few could afford or those who had ample time on their hands.

Our mission was to make fitness accessible and affordable to all. We recognized that the fitness industry needed to evolve to offer flexibility and accessibility to fitness enthusiasts.

This thought process gave rise to building a platform that could provide access to multiple fitness centres & gyms under one single membership which meant users could get the liberty and accessibility to workout in any of the centres that are part of the FITPASS network.

To align with this, we designed our monthly membership plan, making it easier for the users to subscribe to the membership as per their needs and preferences.

Kindly brief us about FITPASS, its specialization, and the services that it offers

Arushi Verma: FITPASS is India’s largest smart membership program for universal fitness and wellness. Its mission is to defeat inactivity by inspiring people to incorporate fitness into their daily routines.

FITPASS has created a seamless network of gyms and fitness studios, making it accessible and affordable for all. Our guiding principle is that “working out should work out.

” FITPASS is an app-based subscription service that provides unlimited access to a curated network of 7500+ premium gyms and fitness studios across India.

In addition to gym access, FITPASS also provides in-app A.I. led personal fitness coaching, customized nutrition services, and live workout sessions with expert trainers from across India.

FITPASS believes in personalizing each individual’s wellness journey to help them feel good and be well.

With our philosophy of #FitnessYourWay, we support people in achieving their fitness goals by catering to their unique needs and requirements.

What is your biggest USP

Arushi Verma: FITPASS is India’s only tech-led membership service that has grown into India’s largest smart membership program, offering unlimited access to premium gyms and fitness studios across the country.

FITPASS stands out by providing a comprehensive, flexible, and cost-effective fitness membership that offers access to a diverse range of fitness options, personal fitness coaching, customized diet from dedicated nutritionist, and live workout sessions with esteemed national trainers.

In a competitive fitness industry, what unique strategies did FITPASS employ to establish itself as a leader in the market and forge partnerships with such a vast network of gyms and fitness studios?

Arushi Verma: We recognized the need for accessibility and affordability in the fitness industry. We aimed to break down barriers that prevented individuals from pursuing their fitness goals.

To achieve this, we developed a smart membership that provides unlimited access to a curated network of 7500+ premium gyms and fitness studios across 40 cities of India.

This wide range of options ensured that our users had the flexibility to choose the locations and facilities that best suited their needs.

Another key strategy was our emphasis on personalization. We believe that every individual’s fitness journey is unique, and therefore, we strive to cater to their specific requirements.

Alongside access to  gyms & fitness centres, we introduced our proprietary AI-led personal fitness coaching, FITCOACH, personal nutritionist services, FITFEAST; and live workouts at home, FITPASS-TV.

Additionally, FITPASS TV offers a diverse range of workout sessions led by renowned national fitness trainers.

With these offerings, we aim to bring top-notch fitness expertise and guidance directly to our users, empowering them to achieve their health and wellness goals effectively.

How does FITPASS aim to address the diverse fitness needs and preferences of its customers by offering access to a wide range of gyms and fitness studios?

Arushi Verma: At FITPASS, we understand that fitness is unique to each individual. That’s why we’ve created a comprehensive network of over 7500+ gyms and fitness studios across India.

This wide selection includes traditional gyms, specialized fitness studios, yoga centers, dance studios, martial arts facilities, swimming pools and more.

We curated this network to cover a broad spectrum of fitness disciplines, ensuring our customers can access facilities that match their interests and goals.

Our extensive network spans different locations, making fitness accessible to everyone, no matter where they are.

Moreover, our app offers additional services like AI-led personal fitness coaching, customized nutrition through expert nutritionists, and live workout sessions on the app.

These features allow customers to personalize their fitness journey, and receive expert guidance and support tailored to their individual goals.

As the co-founder of FITPASS, how do you ensure the quality and standard of the gyms and studios within your network to provide a consistent experience for FITPASS users?

Arushi Verma: As the co-founder of FITPASS, ensuring the quality and standard of the gyms and studios within our network is of utmost importance to us. We strive to provide a consistent and exceptional experience for all FITPASS users.

To maintain quality standards, we have a rigorous 136 point checklist for the inclusion of gyms and studios in our network.

We conduct thorough evaluations and assessments to ensure that they meet our criteria for excellence. This includes factors such as infrastructure, equipment quality, safety measures, cleanliness, the expertise of trainers and instructors, among other things.

Additionally, we regularly monitor and assess the performance of the gyms and studios within our network. We gather feedback from our users to understand their experiences and continuously improve the quality of services offered.

FITPASS utilizes technology to streamline the fitness experience for its users. Could you elaborate on the digital tools and features that make FITPASS stand out in the industry?

Arushi Verma: Partner Gym Network: We as a brand use technology to create a vast partner gym network to help the users connect with a wide selection of partner gyms, fitness centers, and studios.

This extensive network ensures that users have access to multiple options and can find a partner fitness centre that suits their preferences and location.

Mobile App and Website: Our mobile app and website serve as the primary interface for users and partner fitness centres.

Users can easily locate a partner fitness centre in their vicinity, view their facilities, and amenities, and make informed decisions according to their needs.

With the app and website, a user can attend a workout at any partner fitness centre in their vicinity  – be it yoga, Zumba, Pilates, CrossFit, Swimming, etc.

User Booking and Scheduling: The usage of the technology enables users to easily reserve and attend their workouts at partner fitness centres.

Users can check the availability of workout sessions, reserve slots, and receive confirmation through the app or website.

This digital booking system eliminates the need for manual paperwork and phone calls, making the process smoother for both users and partner gyms.

Gym Management Software: We provide partner fitness centres with a Management Software that helps them streamline their operations.

This software enables our partners to manage memberships, track attendance, schedule classes, and maintain their database effectively.

It automates several administrative tasks, reducing the manual workload for gym staff and improving overall operational efficiency.

Fitness trends and customer expectations evolve over time. How does FITPASS stay ahead of the curve and continuously adapt to meet the changing demands of fitness enthusiasts?

Arushi Verma: FITPASS stays ahead of the curve by closely monitoring fitness trends, gathering user feedback, collaborating with experts, leveraging technology, and fostering a culture of innovation.

We adapt our offerings to meet evolving customer expectations, ensuring FITPASS users have access to the latest trends and innovative fitness options.

Our commitment to staying at the forefront of the industry enables us to deliver exceptional fitness experiences and empower individuals to achieve their goals.

During the COVID lockdowns, we launched FITPASS TV as a prime example of our dedication to helping people maintain their fitness and activity levels while staying safe and comfortable at home.

FITPASS TV offers a wide range of virtual workouts, exercise routines, and wellness content that caters to various fitness interests and levels helping users workout from the comfort of their homes.

In a country like India, where fitness awareness is growing rapidly, what challenges did FITPASS encounter while expanding its network, and how did you overcome them?

Arushi Verma: In the initial years, we faced the challenge of educating the audience about the importance of fitness and wellness in their daily routines.

Our major emphasis was on how FITPASS could simplify the fitness experience for users and provide a convenient solution to access multiple partner gyms and fitness centers.

This required spreading awareness about the benefits of using the FITPASS platform and changing the perception that fitness was a luxury and not a necessity.

On the partner side, fitness was the only unorganized sector yet to be democratized. It was the only service, where a customer was expected and demanded to pay for the entire year in one go.

It took some time to explain to partners the benefits of FITPASS, but I can proudly say that no partner has left our network, after being associated with us (management change & gym closing being exceptions). Now we get calls from Owners asking to be listed on the application.

FITPASS is known for its flexibility and convenience in offering various membership plans. Can you discuss the different membership options available and how they cater to the needs of different individuals?

Arushi Verma: FITPASS provides a range of membership plans tailored to suit various preferences and fitness goals. We understand that everyone has unique requirements and schedules. Therefore, we have crafted our membership options to provide maximum flexibility.

Our flagship FITPASS membership offers unlimited access to a curated network of 7,500+ premium gyms and fitness studios across 40+ cities of India starting from ₹999 per month.

We also have 2 additional services – FITCOACH (A.I. led training and coaching plan) at ₹499 per month, and FITFEAST (personal dedicated expert nutritionist) at ₹999 per month.

What are your future plans and aspirations for FITPASS? Are there any upcoming features or expansions on the horizon to further enhance the fitness experience for your users?

Arushi Verma: In the next five years, our goal is to get at least 50 million Indians to work out and defeat inactivity!

We have successfully managed to convince the Government of India and the insurance regulator, IRDAI to include access to fitness as part of life, general and health insurance products being distributed across India.

This opens up a myriad of possibilities to reward, incentivize, engage and enable the world’s youngest population to get fit and stay protected.

Being an asset-light, capital-efficient, tech-enabled business, FITPASS operates on the principles of a “shared economy” like Uber, Airbnb, etc. wherein aggregated customer demand is balanced with an aggregated supply network of assets.

Our business model bolstered by our proprietary A.I. technology allows us to command positive unit economics and makes us a highly scalable and replicable model across geographies.

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