Anytime Fitness, the Hastings-based franchiser of health clubs, acquired fitness app developer PumpOne on Monday, aiming to extend its connection to customers beyond their visits to the gym.
Under the deal, terms of which weren’t disclosed, Anytime Fitness will unite its mobile software with PumpOne’s broader suite of offerings.
PumpOne, based in New York, will continue to develop and provide its own branded products as well as develop fitness apps for Anytime and other health clubs, insurance providers and private companies.
For Anytime and its franchise operators who run more than 3,000 locations, the acquisition marks a recognition that digital gadgets are becoming more important to their customers and the exercise experience.
“This is going to help our franchise owners attract and retain customers, and it’s also going to help them bring down the cost of personal training,” Chuck Runyon, the company’s chief executive and co-founder, said. “This is going to allow more people to experience a coach.”
He said the fitness industry, like others, is seeing its business model shaken up by the proliferation of smartphones and other networked mobile devices like fitness bands. Building a gym and waiting for people to come in the door is no longer enough to drive growth, Runyon said, because consumers are realizing that gym visits are only part of the equation for losing weight or achieving other fitness goals.
“Outside-the-club activity trumps inside-the-club activity,” he said, noting that most people who use a health club do so for just one or two hours per week.
“Every step counts, whether you’re inside the club or outside the club. We just want to make people healthier,” Runyon said. “We’re trying to be a little bit less gym-centric and a little bit more consumer-centric by meeting them where they are.”
Anytime Fitness, which started in 2002, earlier this year passed the opening of its 3,000th fitness center globally. About 2,400 are in the U.S. with another 800 abroad, where growth is now fastest. Executives believe overseas growth will be so strong that, in about five years, the geographic mix of its outlets will be about half in the U.S. and half in other countries.
The company in 2009 created its first digital product, a software program for PCs for customers to keep track of fitness and nutrition. It offered a mobile app form of that software last year, but the acquisition of PumpOne gives the company exposure to a richer product.
PumpOne started in New York in 2005, when founder Craig Schlossberg began producing fitness videos that could be viewed on iPods with color screens, which were new at the time.
The firm, still led by Schlossberg, since then built a library of more than 1,000 workout programs and over 7,000 fitness images and videos.
PumpOne’s 10 full-time employees will join Anytime Fitness but continue to be based in New York. They will become part of Anytime’s 55-person IT department, the largest unit in the company. “Every company these days has to consider itself kind of an IT company,” Runyon said.