Our series of conversations with founders and companies going through HYPE’s Spin Accelerator in Taiwan. In this conversation we spotlight STRYDE and talked to the co-founders of STRYDE Leon Lee and Alex Chung.
First question is your thoughts on the Taiwan Bootcamp, describe how you both felt about the experience?
Leon Lee: “This is the second time we’ve been at a HYPE Bootcamp. We went to our first one at Haifa earlier this year.
“The vibe from this Taiwan bootcamp was much different. It was a lot shorter. The bootcamp in Haifa was two-days long and I’d say it was a bit more intense which means we had a couple practice runs, we could re-do our pitch deck if you we to and we had a deadline. This time in Taiwan I felt they took the startups in as they were so they paid a lot of attention to what we were doing and the feedback during that pitch aspect showed they really tried to understand what we were doing and the pain points we were trying to solve. The whole thing happened in one day, it was really smooth and efficient would certainly be the word I’d use.”
Alex Chung: “The thing that left an impression on me is the way they partner with different organisations at different locations. In Israel they partnered with Maccabi Haifa Football Club whereas in Taiwan they partnered with IAPS (Center of Industry Accelerator and Patent Strategy) – which is a university-based accelerator and incubator. I think what they’re looking for in the teams is a little different, at least from the other half of the partnership. For IAPS they would look at overall the startup as a business, they look at the revenue model, the business plans, whereas at Maccabi Haifa it was more focussed on the sports side of things.”
Let’s get into the product, very briefly describe STRYDE, the platform and the markets you will target?
LL: “The basic problem we’re solving has two parts to it: firstly, most people aren’t reaching their fitness goals because they’re not motivated enough and secondly, a lot of fitness brands are struggling to distribute their product.
“What our platform allows them to do is one, a user will go to our platform and set a fitness goal using our goal-setting algorithm without the help of a personal trainer. Then users will be able to bet on each other’s fitness goals using our in-app currency called Donuts in the hopes of earning more Donuts. The final step is being able to use these Donuts in exchange for fitness brand products such as apparel, protein shakes and more.”
There’s a lot of interesting aspects in combination here. You’ve got the goal-setting aspect which means it’s aspirational and motivational, it keeps themselves accountable, first of all, is that one your intentions?
LL: “That’s the key word really. With the research that we did, not only was it that 73 per cent of people around the world fail fitness related new year’s resolutions, however with accountability that aspect increases the success rate to about 95 per cent. Accountability is the main driver for increased motivation.”
Building a fitness community build on support and driving that growth is a key unique selling point for yourselves.
LL: “I think especially with the way our app works, building the community is imperative. With the way our app works, without people interacting with you, you miss a whole chunk of the accountability factor. Of course, the fact that you have the tool to set an achievable goal with milestones we provide for you allows you to stay accountable to yourself. Being able to create that community is something that’s really going to take it to the next level as a user experience.”
What’s the potential user base?
LL: “Our target demographic is first of all people have to want to achieve a goal. They need to be a social media user. We’re talking ages between 17 to your late 30’s.”
AC: “Definitely somebody, I wouldn’t say well-versed in the fitness space, but the super users we’re looking for are already going to gym, they kind of understand what it takes to make progress but they’re looking for something extra. Currently in social media these days, you look at Instagram, they’ve retracted the likes counter for each post, because social media as a whole has become very ‘narcissistic,’ it’s kind of numbers driven. A lot of fitness enthusiasts know Instagram is a great place to show your products but they may be looking for something that is fitness-centric with right-minded people on the platform. People who are looking for something a bit more exclusive.
“Having said that, with the betting aspect – the believe and doubt – that is kind of a segue to people who may not be in that fitness realm because it’s a unique touchpoint, a unique engagement point, that might segue as a gateway to come in and get a taste of what it’s like to be in the space and set a goal themselves.”
LL: “Also the behaviour of betting on each other’s goals is not something that is hardly new, we’ll use the idea of a student before summer, ‘let’s make a bet who can get a six-pack this summer,’ that kind of behaviour is what we’re trying to migrate to one digital platform.”
What does growth look like for the business as we look ahead for the next 12 months?
LL: “In the immediate couple months we’re looking to launch which is basically our second soft launch. We did our first one back in August and our second one at the end of November or early December. By early 2020 all our marketing will be put in place, we have a handful of micro-influencers, we have five based in Hong Kong, and all of those materials and content has already been produced so it’s just going to roll out in early 2020. Once we build up that traction we’re going to go for a second round of funding and the immediate next step within the second and third quarter we’ll be looking to expand into the APAC region. Obviously being in HYPE’s accelerator in Taiwan, the Taiwan market is one we’ll go for and also Singapore is a big one for us.”
Now you’re going to be in the SPIN Lab until January, what do you hope to learn and as you’ve explained how are you going to use that experience to help your launch into 2020?
AC: “First and foremost mentorship is really key for us. Leon’s had a lot of experience with startups in general and for me it’s my first one.
“The people we’ve met so far, just from the Bootcamp and the webinars we’ve had up until this point have been really insightful and everyone has been really open and willing to help. That kind of access is so invaluable.”
LL: “There’s so many competitive and interesting startups in this cohort and we’re really looking forward to the demo day to see how everyone has progressed in the three months!”
Conversations produced in collaboration with HYPE Sports Innovation.