D.C.-based startup Gymaze wants to help fitness users get into nearby gyms, classes and studios without any contracts or subscriptions.
The mobile app and web platform, which launched a few weeks ago, allows users in the D.C. metro area to find classes, personal trainers and fitness products for free.
Users can explore studios and gyms, check reviews and prices, and purchase one, five, 10 or unlimited monthly passes to any participating location.
“Gymaze is the first app that provides fitness users access to gyms, studios, and personal trainers around them without a membership or subscription,” said founder and CEO Hakan Yurt. “Working out should be as flexible as our schedules, no matter where we are or what time of day.”
Yurt said that the idea for Gymaze came from his own difficulties of utilizing fitness centers.
“I used to live in Falls Church, Virginia, and I worked in Gaithersburg, Maryland. I was a member of a gym in Falls Church, but I was spending most of my time in Gaithersburg,” he said. “There was a gym next to my work, but I was not able to use it. I thought why do I have to get stuck with one location and why can’t I use it for my own purpose whenever and where ever I want?
“If I’m on travel, for example, in another state, why can’t I use gyms in other states?” he said. “So the idea was born out of that.”
Another issue for Yurt was the two-year contract that came along with his gym membership.
“Most of the time I’m not using it and still paying, so I came up with the idea that it has to be flexible with no contract,” he said. “If I don’t use it, I should not be charged in any way and I should be able to use any gym around me, wherever I am.”
He also wanted to help with the apathy that many fitness users develop towards the gym throughout the year.
“People have New Year’s resolutions and then by June almost all of the people who start the year with a New Year’s resolution to be healthy lose it,” he said. “They don’t go anymore but they keep paying for it. This is a $25 billion industry — $10 billion of that is money down the drain.”
Originally from Turkey, Yurt, a 15-year veteran of the IT and consulting industry, has launched two startup apps before and he believes what separates Gymaze from other similar concepts like ClassPass is simply the motive.
Yurt and company developed a program called “Transform Yourself, Transform the World,” aiming to partner with local nonprofits and share Gymaze’s profits. Every time a user completes a transaction, the portion of the profit will be donated to the nonprofit organization of their choice.
“With this program, users will not only help themselves to reach their fitness goals and promote their own healthy life, they will also help increase the quality of their community,” Yurt said. “We are trying to keep the fitness users motivated by giving them a way to exercise for a cause and promote the healthy life in our communities.
“Gymaze is going to donate from our profit, with no fee to the user or gym,” he said. “It might give them another reason to work out. We are not here purely for business, but we are also trying to make a contribution and to do something good, something meaningful.”