Here's a startup trying to make it easier for fitness gurus to cash in

Left to right: ParkFit founders Nathan Challen, Britney Marsden and Jacob Turner

ParkFit is building a platform to allow fitness experts to make it easier to monetise their social media followers.

The rise of social media has allowed fitness experts to build audiences quickly and cheaply and services like Instagram, have seen them organically gather millions of followers that be turned into a business.

Australian Kayla Itsines, for example, leveraged her 1.7 million Instagram followers by creating an online store, hosting events and selling workout guides.

Recently Itsines launched a subscription app to bring all of her offerings into one place. It was number one in the health and fitness section on the iTunes store in the first week.

But most people aren’t Itsines, and don’t have the scale to launch by themselves. That’s where ParkFit is aiming its service, creating a platform for “fitness influencers”.

“What technology has done is basically enabled anyone to become a popular fitness influencer. So, now anybody who does some awesome fitness regime and has a great body and is super fit can amass significant followers,” says Turner, co-founder of ParkFit.

“The majority of those do not understand technology and would go and have to find the developer and then build a mobile app and market it yourself.”

ParkFit has spent the last three months in the River City Labs accelerator program, where their idea has evolved to target popular fitness gurus. If they can convince enough people like Itsines to come onto the platform, the theory goes, they will bring millions of fans with them.

In return for a platform built specifically for these fitness programs – videos, interactive workouts, recurring payments, data on how well followers are doing, forums, ParkFit will get a cut of the fees they charge.

“Customer number one for us is obviously the fitness influencer because our platform is really designed for them to bring their following over,” says Turner.

“Obviously our ultimate customer and subscriber is [the fitness guru’s] followers – they are really buying into that influencer and we are just giving them a place where that can be done better than it is currently.”

“Solving the [fitness influencer’s] problem solves their follower’s problem. Because they want to engage with these influencers, but the current technology doesn’t allow for it.”

Turner and fellow co-founders Nathan Challen and Britney Marsden have previous startup experience, although their last startup failed.

They entered the River City Labs accelerator program with an idea to “do something in fitness”, with the product evolving as they attended workshops and did research at fitness bootcamps and personal training sessions.

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