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How a Seven Month Old-startup is Democratising Sports & Fitness in India

During the lockdown, upUgo through its sessions is supporting people and children to focus on fitness and health without any boundaries

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Our modern lifestyle does not allow for much physical activity unless we consciously work it into our schedule - this is true for adults as well as children. Thanks to his children, Amit Gupta, Founder of upUgo realised that children are not exposed to enough physical activity and thought to solve this problem through an idea-based startup which provides a personal trainer for children and young adults. Upon researching further, he found that the accessibility and affordability of sports centres are scanty in our country and to address this, he created upUgo, a virtual model to promote fitness. The idea is to reach young adults in condominiums who might otherwise neglect their physical health. 

 Impact of Covid-19

A completely bootstrapped model, it comprises a comprehensive programme incorporating physical fitness, mental fitness, yoga and nutritional guidance. “We commenced at the society level wherein children can use these services in the comfort of their premises. The company started operations six months back and was functioning quite smoothly.” But everything stopped as the pandemic hit India. Initially, in March, the company had to halt its services as apartments denied entry to outsiders. While the company was already working on its digital platform, the outbreak had spread vociferously across the country. As it is famously said 'need is the mother of all invention', upUgo moved online through its digital platforms. Gupta said, “While millions of adults across the world use these platforms to stay healthy and fit, we are exploring and pushing further in this uncharted territory to get our children fitter. We have shot over 100 YouTube video's and are systematically releasing them. We have conducted more than 20 Insta live sessions and around 30-40 live zoom sessions. Through this, we have witnessed a 300-400 per cent rise in our social media traffic, subscribers and views.”

Earlier the physical model of upUgo was just limited to Bangalore, however, after the pandemic and Gupta’s passion to make this model accessible to everyone across the country, his boundaries have expanded. Now upUgo’s classes are free and are being taken up by people across the country from the ease of their homes. The company is conducting Zoom, Instagram and Facebook sessions and continues to stay in touch with all its customers through these sessions.

Solving Fitness Issues 

Gupta after researching the current market scenario realised that people who have children are finding it extremely difficult to engage them meaningfully during the lockdown. “People's schedules have gone for a toss because nobody had expected this kind of a situation and children are kind of bewildered. They can't study all the time, parents can't let their children be on social media all the time. How much content will they watch?” said Gupta. He has received a lot of appreciation from his clients as the solutions he's coined have been useful for them. “We can't control what happens, but we can control how we respond," he says. 

Future Business Model

Gupta further plans to expand his startup through a paid subscription-based model wherein people can book sessions on different platforms. The company started its online model merely 15 days ago and would be bringing investors on board in the near future. Going forward, Gupta wants to pursue both the online and offline model. Emphasising on brand recall, Gupta said, “In the post-Covid-19 world, we will have a better brand recall. Also, if social distancing continues, we will have a digital model as an offering. We are also developing an app in which both the physical and digital model will be incorporated whereby a subscriber can pick the one he wants to engage with. Certainly, it will not be simple, but the idea is to stay relevant and have a bigger and superior brand."  While upUgo's physical model is on hold for the time being, the coming months will bring further innovations. 

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startup fitness health COVID-19