Tempo: Building the AI-powered Home Gym of the Future
Highlights from ✨Hot Deal Time Machine✨⏳ -- On Clubhouse
🏋️♀️ The Origins: Bodybuilding at the YMCA
Eldeeb recalled the day his whole life changed: when he met three personal trainers at his local YMCA. At the time, Eldeeb, a teenager, was living in a homeless shelter with his family and the YMCA trainers opened up a new world to him. While he wasn’t initially interested in fitness, these trainers pulled him in and coached him - inspiring him to continually strive for improvement. As Eldeeb didn’t have the means to pay for $150 sessions, these trainers made a deal with Eldeeb that he could pay them back by returning to high school. After graduating from a private high school, Eldeeb was accepted to Columbia University where he studied computer science. To pay for school, he also became a personal trainer, but was haunted by the question of how to make personal training more affordable - allowing him to train 10K people at once. Eldeeb began talking about this idea and in 2014 he found his co-founder, Josh Augustin, an expert in computer vision and his classmate at Columbia. And where did Eldeeb look to find his co-founder? No further than one of his training clients who was paying him that $150 an hour that they would come to disrupt. Together they started SmartSpot which eventually became Tempo.
⏳ The Market Timing: Launching during COVID
As Eldeeb described it, COVID has had a “forever lasting impact that has completely changed the trajectory of the home fitness space.” COVID has served as a catalyst to permanently change behaviors that are often difficult to break. Pre-pandemic, people were in the habit of signing up for gyms in January with their New Year’s resolutions, and never showing up past February. In fact the business model of gyms relies on people not showing up (typically with 50% churn over the year), meaning gyms in actuality aren’t incentivized to truly help their members improve. With COVID, consumers began to question and test these long-ingrained behaviors as they explored whether they could get a great workout at home. Turns out they could. Lui also explained that the pandemic shifted at-home fitness from a primarily suburban phenomenon to a mainstream one. Urbanites now see at-home fitness solutions as a full replacement or supplement to previously favored boutique fitness or gym options. In fact, according to a 2021 Consumer Trends report, 81% of Americans under the age of 40 prefer to work out at home now and don't have plans to go back to what they were used to before.
🏭 The Oh Shit Moment: Supply chain breaks as demand spikes
Tempo launched in the middle of COVID, and with the pandemic creating market tailwinds for at-home fitness, demand for Tempo quickly began to spike. However, as the company experienced the most growth, everything in their supply chain began to shut down - from primary factories to sub-factories and sub-suppliers. In China, the country was fully closed for export and nearly all manufacturing was shut down. Tempo found themselves with no employees on the ground in China to work with the contract manufacturers while pre-orders for Tempo continued to flow in. Eldeeb was eventually able to hire people locally through referrals from other HW companies in China to get things back on track within a few months. With the benefit of hindsight, one lesson Eldeeb took away was the importance of building up a team on the ground from the start. While a tricky start, Tempo’s ability to navigate the early supply chain issues (including renting a U-haul and donning white gloves themselves to deliver the first 50 units!), allowed the company to reach nearly a $100M revenue run rate in less than one year.
🖥 The Advantage: Data and computer vision
Eldeeb explained that data is the biggest differentiator for Tempo when compared to other personal training solutions. Tempo boasts over 40K hours of training and over 5M workouts logged - all data that is fed back in to train an AI model that continues to improve everyday. In comparison, the average personal trainer that charges $150 an hour has been trained for just 270 hours. While humans can provide fantastic service, it’s hard to compete with that level of nuanced data and training. The hardware for Tempo is also no trivial matter. Tempo is the only connected fitness product that leverages a small LIDAR sensor to track users in 3D while they work out - allowing Tempo to fine-tune and personalize the training for every workout.
👉🏼 ✨Hot Deal Time Machine✨⏳ is a 30-minute bi-weekly Clubhouse show where we travel back in time to the early stages of some of today’s hottest deals. Hear from founders and investors on the original pitch and thesis…and how things actually played out