Startup Spotlight: Eastnine
UK-based fitness startup Eastnine is a smartphone-based digital training app that brings professional coaching to its users via authentic and unscripted audio content.
How it works: Eastnine’s team of professional trainers and athletes guide users through a variety of running, stretching, and strength workouts delivered to your ear via a smartphone or smartwatch app.
Funding: Seed (co-led by LocalGlobe and Cherry Ventures)
In this edition of the Startup Spotlight, we caught up with Eastnine co-founder and CEO Jason Goodman, covering the following:
- Democratizing access to pro-quality coaching
- An unscripted, authentic, and knowledge-based approach to content
- Closing the gap between the intent to exercise and the reality of actually doing it
Where did the idea for Eastnine originate?
I met Cat Forrest (our co-founder and coaching lead) on a charity triathlon where we cycled the full length of Italy and swam across the Messina Strait to Sicily. Cat comes from an international sports background — she was a Team GB athlete who began as a high jumper and then moved on to cycling. She consistently led at the front of that race, while I trailed near the rear.
The idea for Eastnine was born from our curiosity of how top athletes like Cat motivate themselves to train, improve, and perform at a high level and developed into a pursuit to take those learned habits to help normal humans get fit, improve their health, and pursue exercise naturally in their daily lives.
What’s the driving goal behind Eastnine?
I was spurred by the challenge of closing the gap between the intent to exercise and the reality of actually completing it. It’s a prevailing statistic that over 70% of all people globally, particularly in the West, have a really strong interest in and intent to exercise. Yet, the percentage of people who are actually able to do it consistently hovers around 30%.
What’s more, the ability to access a coach or a trainer with in-depth knowledge has traditionally been quite limited to the one percent. We want to disrupt those trends and make great coaching truly democratic and accessible, putting the coach in your ear with a user experience that marries convenience, accessibility, and content from top athletes and trainers.
We want our members to demonstrate that even the busiest lives can make space for creating fitness habits and that even the simplest changes can have a profound impact on health and wellness.
What are you working on now?
We started by creating content specifically for runners, and we’ve built a really committed community of users that have informed the way we’ve developed the product. From their feedback, we found a desire for more content devoted to stretching, recovery, and strength training — so we’re starting to move beyond strictly running and into those areas.
We’ve added fantastic strength and conditioning coaches who come from all sorts of sports backgrounds. For example, Louis Richardson—a Team GB middleweight boxer who trains with the Olympic squad in the UK—has a phenomenal depth of strength and conditioning knowledge that we’ll be converting into streamed content. Plus, all of our coaches have qualifications in professional sports, which means they really stand apart from the pack of fitness trainers out there.
For us, it’s ultimately about giving people a breadth of different types of fitness training to choose from. There’s an enormous curiosity out there, and thus a real benefit in not being tied to one particular form of training or genre of content.
What’s your strategy for creating content?
We have a studio based in London where we’ve kicked off our content production. Our approach is unscripted to enable our coaches to convey their knowledge in an authentic and truthful way — very similar to the way they might engage with clients in person.
It was a conscious decision to move away from the scripted content that people often experience in boutique gyms and fitness classes. People have heard that class mantra a lot in recent years, and what they’re looking for now is the wisdom and knowledge to understand their training and the purpose of what they’re doing.
What’s the benefit of audio coaching?
We think that audio is a really big trend to lean into. We really believe that’s the kind of user experience that people who want to do fitness training can most easily engage with audio. It’s truly democratic because a vast majority of the planet has access to a phone, and likely in the future, a smart watch-like device.
From the hardware perspective audio is really the lowest common denominator, and our job is to create the most compelling content for a hardware solution that reaches the broadest number of people. We’re connecting everyday people around the world with our coaches and giving them something that inspires them to go out and exercise far more regularly.
Check out Eastnine on their website.
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