By Jillian Hamersma
Erin Martell, CEO and Founder of Amenity Yoga, is delivering the standardized studio quality yoga experience directly to fitness centers in urban commercial real estate buildings by matching them to local instructors with underutilized yoga certifications. While boutique yoga studios, event companies, and individual fitness instructors already bring workout classes into these spaces, Amenity Yoga has four distinct areas of differentiation:
Studio Experience – The sense-encompassing experience of a boutique studio delivered through 4 accessible class types (Signature Power Vinyasa, Aqua Yoga, HIIT Yoga, and Meditation Flow)
Convenience and Scalability – A uniform class formula based on Eastern principles of yoga and adapted to the Western style delivered directly to where people live and work
Community Building – Personal interaction built into the class method combined with the collective practice of linking yoga and breath together as a group, ultimately connecting neighbors and colleagues to one another
Quality – All instructors must be certified and must give two trial classes before they are approved to teach. Reviews of instructors are consistently collected, reviewed, and acted upon and class audits are performed by lead instructors.
Americans have a newfound desire for convenience at home; however, working from home has impacted how they connect to others, especially in urban areas. These two trends are resulting in a competitive rental market and tight labor market as workers re-evaluate what they want. Additionally, the movement in fitness was to bring it directly into the home but, as evidenced by Peloton’s boom and bust, now people want to connect in person again.
Amenity Yoga links the convenience of fitness at home with the innate human need for face-to-face interaction while giving trained yoga instructors an opportunity to teach classes around their own schedule. The company also serves property managers’ need to retain residents by both building community and by breathing life into underused fitness spaces and pools.
The target market is any multi-family urban commercial real estate (which totals about 250,000 buildings in the United States). The serviceable market also includes urban retail distribution centers and office commercial real estate. The total addressable market is all suburban and urban commercial real estate in the United States such as hotels, universities, airports, hospitals, manufacturing centers, and schools. There are 55 million commercial buildings in the United States and 60% are urban.
Amenity Yoga’s revenue model is B2B recurring revenue on a one-year or three-year contract basis with property managers. In order to bring in additional revenue for both the instructors and the company, individual and small group classes are offered for purchase to individuals (such as residents and employees) that fall under the property manager subscribing to Amenity Yoga’s classes. The technology is integrated into the current website so that bookings can be easily managed on Calendly with current properties. The expectation is that 80% of the revenue will come from property managers and 20% will come from tenants.
Amenity Yoga is currently working with two properties in Chicago with goals to have five properties by March 2022 and ten properties by June 2022. Over the next five years, the company would like to expand to ten cities that have high concentrations of both multi-family buildings and yoga instructors, such as Boston. Amenity Yoga is using an image marketing, bottomup approach on its growing social media presence in order to acquire both trained yoga instructors and interest from tenants so that they can refer Amenity Yoga to their property managers.
The company is also applying a directed search model (meaning B2B connections for property managers and instructors) to scale the demand (property managers) and supply (instructors) sides concurrently. Examples include strategic partnerships, cold calling, referrals, and word of mouth. Amenity Yoga is potentially looking to fundraise starting in Spring 2022 and wants to partner with investors that believe in the company vision and have experience in building out technology platforms.
Erin and those on her team are educated businesspeople that share a passion for yoga and all hold a strong belief in Amenity Yoga’s core mission to improve human connection and maintain communities in urban multi-family buildings. Each member of the team has a diverse and specific skillset. Erin herself is a trained mechanical engineer from the University of Michigan with management consulting, financial consulting, and private wealth experience. Her CFO is a CPA and her CMO has both B2B and start-up marketing experience. As students at Chicago Booth, the team plans to participate in the 2022 Chicago Booth New Venture Challenge. Erin is the teacher’s assistant for Entrepreneurial Discovery with Mark Tebbe and is continuously refining the Amenity Yoga business in her New Venture Strategy course with James E. Schrager. Outside of Chicago Booth, Amenity Yoga leverages the 1871 Incubator in order to find advisors.
Erin has lived in Chicago for five years and has always spent her free time exploring her passion for sharing wellness – she has a health food Instagram where she’s tested out how to build a brand and following. Additionally, she started a wellness group meet up in Lincoln Park to see how communities can be built successfully. In 2021, Erin participated in the Chicago Booth New Venture Challenge as a COO and Co-Founder of a different fitness startup called recreaish where she learned how to run a business and how to pitch to investors. During that time, she also discovered the whitespace for yoga delivered to residents’ buildings. This discovery spurred her to set out on her own and start a company where she could play to her own experiences in B2B relationships and technology.
Erin practices yoga every day, and currently lives in a high-rise where she has experienced first-hand the increase in spend from property managers and the lack of engagement from residents. People want to build community in their buildings, but before Amenity Yoga, there hasn’t been a good enough avenue for it.
Want to try Amenity Yoga yourself?
Visit their website: http://amenityoga.com/
and ask your property manager to book a Free Trial!
Want to get involved as an instructor, advisor, or investor?