STRONGBEE aims to “revolutionize” Indonesia's sports and health industry by connecting users with over 700 health professionals and sports facilities across Jakarta, Bandung, Medan, and Bali. The app benefits all parties involved, from consumers to gym operators.
Users looking for effective ways to get in better shape can use STRONGBEE as a free directory service that provides on-demand booking for classes, private trainers and sports facilities. These users can then write reviews and rate the services to aid others in their choices. Ticket purchases for sporting events can also be made through the app.
For businesses, STRONGBEE is a SaaS that allows health professionals to efficiently manage their listing on their devices, including reviewing analytics and setting up promotional materials. The hope is also that the app can help overcome the sometimes intimidating obstacles for clients who want to get in better shape.
“Current practice dictates that we visit a place or rely on word of mouth for recommendations and information,” co-founder and CEO Farah Shanti Suraputra told CompassList. She explained that STRONGBEE wants to “democratize” the process by making information easier to access for everyone, including beginners on the lookout for trainers, communities or gyms they'll feel comfortable with.
Seeking first external funding
Suraputra founded the company alongside CTO Bima Pandu Wiguna, Product Director Rian Bastian and Head of Marketing Fakhri Muzakky. Having launched the beta version of its app in April 2019, STRONGBEE unveiled its full feature in September the same year. It has had 15,000 downloads so far and currently counts 4,000 monthly active users.
According to Suraputra, STRONGBEE earns income through undisclosed referral fees and commissions. He said that, “since inception, our transaction growth has been exponential.” Its biggest source of income is currently generated from booking classes and trainers, and from membership sign-ups.
The app displays starting prices for these services in 33 different sporting disciplines and provides details of each, including the distance to the location, the activity duration and organizer details in events such as marathons. It currently lists over 350 partnering gyms and studios, more than 250 trainers and health professionals (nutritionists and therapists), and over 170 courts and fields.
Currently bootstrapped with the help of friends and family, the startup is planning to raise funds from outside investors soon, said Suraputra. He declined to go into details.
He explained that publicizing the app relies heavily on word-of-mouth, which has proven to be effective, as well as social media marketing, "primarily through Instagram.” The method works to reach STRONGBEE's primary users, who are health-conscious urbanites aged between 20 and 55.
Virtual moves in Covid-19
STRONGBEE has kept its momentum going throughout the Covid-19 pandemic by switching to virtual classes, though many of its partners have struggled to adapt. The app offers virtual training sessions and events through Zoom and Google Hangout, covering HIIT (high intensity interval training), yoga, mat Pilates, and Strong by Zumba.
“We can be beaten by the plague,” said Farah, adding that STRONGBEE wanted to help the health and sports industry survive the pandemic. “That is why we presented this [virtual] service, so that those in the industry – especially trainers and instructors – could still work from home. We are the only platform with this kind of service.”
The startup also plans to launch a POS (point of sale) service, which would be specially tailored for the fitness and wellness industry. Suraputra said that no details can be provided yet, but that the idea is to go beyond their Jakarta-Bali-Bandung-Medan market and “expand to other big cities around Indonesia.”
Suraputra has pointed to a 2016 Statistics Indonesia report that stated only 27% of Indonesians actively exercise. STRONGBEE sees this as an opening for startups such as theirs to help people who are actually interested in a healthier lifestyle navigate the process of doing so.
Tasya Putri, a STRONGBEE user who has been using it to find yoga classes, considers the app a life-saver for full-time worker such as herself.
“Living in a big city like Jakarta and working in an office the whole day, you know you have to balance things by exercising and eating healthily. But the reality is that you're often too exhausted or lazy to start. The app really helped, in that I just needed to do some scrolling and it was easy to find and book classes.”
Prior to the pandemic, Putri had regularly been going to a yoga class booked through STRONGBEE with her workmates and now participates in Zoom classes with the studio.
“There is a lot of information on the Internet about diets and eating patterns, which may not fit every individual,” said CTO Wiguna, pointing to STRONGBEE's curated list of partnering nutritionists. “We want to be a solution to that – one that is just a click away.”