Startup Spotlight: Is Silofit the AirBnB of Private Fitness Studios?

By David Stol

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When the team at Silofit first envisioned the future of personal fitness, they dreamed of a model that balanced flexibility, privacy, and sustainability to create a revolutionary paradigm shift in how we define gym spaces. What CEO Wilfred Valenta had no way of knowing is just how transformative his company would become in a COVID-19-induced world.

Launching a startup is, of course, a precarious task, particularly in a space as saturated as the world of personal fitness. Generally, every successful new venture requires differentiation, competent leadership, and capital. But in such a competitive environment, a little serendipity never hurts. Today, Silofit sits confidently at the intersection of all four.

The Montreal-based business first began as an alternative to conventional gyms, redefining the way consumers have access to personal fitness. Valenta and his team created a network of on-demand, private fitness spaces that can be rented out by the hour by individuals or fitness professionals using Silofit’s mobile app.

Silofit gym with workout equipment
Photo courtesy of Silofit
Silofit gym with exercise bike in light-filled room
Photo courtesy of Silofit

“The idea came along when I was looking for a gym to join, and proximity was key. I wanted a space nearby to squeeze in a workout here and there,” explains Valenta. “The problem was my fluctuating, inconsistent schedule. If you go out of town regularly or find yourself falling in and out of your routine, it can be painful when your monthly membership bill rolls in. Being tied down is a valid concern for a lot of people and committing to one monthly membership isn’t feasible for everyone.”

Now, Silofit solves that problem by repurposing unused real estate spaces into private fitness studios, allowing customers to conveniently rent on-demand and on a budget. Offering flexibility and agency to a fitness community once confined by monthly membership fees and limited locations, Silofit’s emphasis on accessibility has disrupted how people engage with their health, a topic that’s only become more vital during a global pandemic.

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As COVID-19 continues to threaten the safety of traditional gym spaces, Valenta’s team has built what they hope to be a permanent alternative.

“Only a third of gym-goers plan to return to the standard gym, and 60 percent have already cancelled their gym membership in Canada,” explains Valenta. “We’re seeing a future where people will spend 40 percent of their fitness budget on virtual options and 60 percent on pay-per-use or on-demand options. Silofit is uniquely positioned for this new hybrid fitness model where we offer flexible workout space along with a network of trainers and virtual workouts.”

Silofit entrance with sun-filled room
Photo courtesy of Silofit
Silofit gym shower and bathroom area
Photo courtesy of Silofit

In Silofit’s mission to draw in those prepared to abandon conventional gym spaces, social media marketing has become a core pillar of the business. The company prides itself on its relationship with its trainers, but also with the influencer community at large. Over the years, fitness centres and influencers have formed a natural marriage. Now, the privacy and flexibility granted by Silofit have led to key influencers adopting the platform.

“Influencers play a big role in our advertising and content strategies,” says Valenta. “Because our Silos are 100 percent private, it’s perfect for content creation—they create workout videos for their own platform, and we repurpose them for ours. Due to the pandemic, the need for digital content is more prevalent than ever, and our influencer partnerships have flourished in that regard.”

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In a time where most companies are hoping to pivot their business model in order to survive the pandemic, Silofit’s model comfortably alleviates the anxieties of today’s world while preparing itself to thrive in a post-pandemic climate as they plan to launch 12 new locations through 2021.

“We believe that consumers will be more inclined to private workouts moving forward, but will aim to maintain a community feeling by being connected from a technology perspective,” says Valente.

Silofit gym with fitness equipment
Photo courtesy of Silofit

Armed with a disruptive model, key partnerships, and a healthy dose of serendipity in meeting the public’s needs during a particularly uncertain time, Silofit’s future seems to align perfectly with the demands of the market. In the years ahead, it’s not difficult to imagine a world where Silofit redefines our relationship to personal fitness, providing the safety and intimacy of a private space while enabling the self-empowerment that has always defined the community.

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