How I Started An AI-Based
Health And Fitness Platform
Hi! Who are you and what business did you start?
My name is Jose, and I’m the CEO of Krew. Krew is where anyone can find a PT, physiotherapist or nutritionist and enjoy multiple high-quality, AI-augmented ‘same-day’ live streams with them from the comfort of their own homes. We provide motion tracking technologies, meal and exercise plan builders, a system of reviews and specialised skills search (e.g. a PT specialised in prenatal exercise).
What is your personal story and how did you come up with the idea?
I’m a lawyer and economist by training who ended up launching products at Google, and working in digital strategies and complex data solutions at McKinsey and Altius. Back home, I was raised to strongly believe in our responsibility to make a positive impact in other people’s lives. I only recently realised the best way for me to achieve that was through entrepreneurship.
I grew up in a small town in southern Spain, and I quickly realised that I had to run faster than others who had been born in the “right” communities if I wanted to achieve the goals I dreamt of. This sparked a life-long passion for levelling the playing field for ambitious people everywhere.
When I discovered CrossFit it all clicked. I’ve been working out almost daily (sometimes twice a day!) for a couple of years now. A lot of that is thanks to the amazing coaches and community at WIT Training.
My coaches had made such a difference in how enjoyable and effective my training was. Now, their jobs are being threatened by COVID and changes in consumption habits which are here to stay, like the increase in at-home workouts. What if I could both do something impactful, and help the people who’d helped me so much in the past? That’s how Krew was born.
What challenges did you face when creating your product/service?
Starting our journey within a very competitive accelerator like Entrepreneur First gave us solid ground in terms of mentorship and a fundraising schedule. That said, we still struggle with two things mainly:
- Creating a new category. We want to do for fitness what Netflix did for media consumption: make it a seamless experience you can consume over and over during the day. This requires the right tech (on it!) but also the right formats. For example, we need to convince our pros that 20min follow-up sessions are worth it since no one needs to commute for them.
- Defensibility. Health and fitness is a crowded space. We have a unique advantage in that our live streams are delivered through a super-smart scalable P2P typology borne out of my co-founder’s PhD. This enables us to grow faster, cheaper and deliver unique AI. The issue is bringing all of this into a product so distinctive that we are miles ahead of the competition. While simultaneously taking care of the basics e.g. email notifications or payment processing. They aren’t going to take care of themselves just because the core of your product is “high tech”!
Who is your target market?
Our target market is made up mainly of 2 segments:
- Busybodies: people who like to optimise their lifestyle. Having experienced how good working from home feels, they want to keep doing it, at least some of the time. As such, they need a fitness product that adapts to their new routine. This means anything from a quick home workout before connecting to their first video-conference of the day, to a physio consultation on Saturday morning – when you want to be with your family but also need to address that nagging back pain.
- Neophytes: from those who feel self-aware and have been postponing the start of their fitness journey, to others with mobility issues. People like my mom, who loves working out but needs special monitoring ever since she had a heart problem. We can serve these people from their home, and with the help of our AI tools.
How do you market your business and which approaches have been the most successful?
We launched and became product of the day AND product of the week on Product Hunt. This was great to gain new traffic, improve on SEO and earn legitimacy. We have a team working on social media and content creation for organic reach, and ever since our Product Hunt feature we have also been approached by media outlets. You might be seeing us on the news sometime soon!
Paid outreach is a consideration for the future, but for now, we are focused on improving the product. We want people to keep coming back for more, and become our main ambassadors.
Since you launched, what has worked in not only attracting but retaining customers?
We treat our early customers like our consultants. The features we develop and how we develop them originate in their feedback. We do this not only with our customers but also with the professionals who sign up to offer their services on our platform.
To give you an example: one of our PT pros told us that exercise plans were her main tool when working with her clients. She cared about correct execution so much though, that being able to show the exact movement from different perspectives was core to how she works. We created the possibility to upload and embed videos into exercise plans entirely based on her feedback, and our users love it.
What kind of culture exists in your company, and how did you establish it?
We have been a remote team from the beginning, due to COVID. We actually have free office space which we haven’t even been able to use. In this environment, collaboration and team dynamics become essential. We use several principles:
- Clear goals and accountability: through Jira stories and GitHub issues, as well as good old fashioned weekly or bi-weekly targets
- Extreme flexibility and iteration: we don’t lose sight of what matters, but we constantly re-adapt the way we get there by being in constant communication via Slack and Whatsapp. We have weekly team check-ins, as well as individual check-ins during the week. But we have found that the most effective way to keep on track of things isn’t long crowded meetings, but short iteration and feedback.
What software, services or tools do you use within your business?
We use Slack and Slack integrations (e.g. with Sentry and Github) to keep on top of product development and user interactions. Hotjar, AhRefs, Screaming Frog and DeepCrawl for SEO and to understand what our users are doing so we can optimise their experience.
Our most important tech isn’t public though, it’s based on years of experience in ‘edge computing’ from my co-founder and some of the very talented people who are helping us build.
What are the most important lessons have you learned on your business journey?
Explain what you do. Explain it simpler. Then correct what people thought you said you do. Then start all over again. After weeks of building the product, we realised things we considered obvious weren’t at all. We are now focused on simplifying the language, and positioning our message through social media. Perhaps most importantly, we are working hard to put the product in front of the user by making demo sessions and features immediately available.
“Pose estimation” (our jargon for motion tracking) becomes a lot easier to understand if you see it live, for example.
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Being able to be super ambitious and execute on that ambition. Our potential to grow is only limited by how much work we can do at any given moment, because our market is huge and the desire for the product is as well.
My job recently could be summarised as Chief Prioritiser and Chief Non-Recruitment Officer. On the first issue, it’s incredibly energising that there is so much to do, and I am fortunate to have a Co-Founder and team who understand (and also get excited by) iterative development.
On the second issue, we have actually had so much interest from volunteers wanting to work with us. Unfortunately, despite these volunteers wanting to work with us for free, we’ve had to turn some very talented people away!
We have spent a long time bringing people on board, and at one point we decided we had to focus on delivering our priorities with the current team, instead of being tempted by the vanity metric of team growth. We are so fortunate that the team we onboarded is so passionate and full of good ideas.
What is your LEAST favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Having worked in large organisations, I obviously wish I had quasi-unlimited resources to execute on our ideas again so all that counted was the distinctiveness of those ideas and the quality of that execution. The flip side is that success is down to us, which I find incredibly empowering.
What books, podcasts or other resources have inspired and influenced your business journey?
Having done 7 university degrees in different aspects of business and law, and having worked as a generalist consultant at McKinsey, I really don’t believe in quick fixes and miracle ideas (which is my, admittedly narrow, conception of many entrepreneurial books and podcasts). I believe in lofty visions, delivered through irreplicable technology, aided by impeccable execution.
I did love the market research concepts in the Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick (constant idea validation is perhaps one of the most valuable things Entrepreneur First made us do).
Andrew Chen and Paul Graham’s blogs are also invaluable insiders takes on things which should be general knowledge. Reading them is not so much an advantage as it would be a disadvantage if you didn’t read them. That’s how much of a market standard they set.
Where do you see your business 2-3 years from now?
For our professionals, we will be the Shopify of fitness functionality. For our users, the Netflix of fitness (or the Babylon, if you are UK based). We will have a revenue base in the many tens of millions, and an employee base nimble in acquisition, and thick in edge computing, UX, and creatives and curators working with the video content that results from using our platform.