The process of attaining a personal trainer today is, ironically, impersonal. You get set up at a gym, or if you’re lucky get to choose from the limited selection available. What you need is Handstand. With the online Handstand platform you can select whom you want as your personal trainer, as well as where you want to meet, and what you want to train. If one day you want to get in touch with your inner Zen and do some yoga and the next day unleash your inner Ali with some boxing – no problem. With expansion to New York and other cities to come, Handstand is quickly gaining traction, not to mention being featured by the LA Times, ABC, Active Network, and other outlets
Today, we catch up with CEO and Founder Tiffany Hakimianpour, to speak about the on-demand fitness world as well as the pressing need for a reform in the personal training world.
Tell us about the product or service.
Handstand is a platform that allows users to book a trainer or instructor at any place and any time. Most users book sessions at home, at their apartment fitness center, a partner gym of ours, or in a park. We have over 15 session types including: Boxing, Yoga, Pilates, Weight Loss Coaching, and more.
How is it different?
We’re disrupting and innovating the antiquated personal fitness industry and leading people to health and an active lifestyle more conveniently. You can choose from 15 session types, and growing, with the best trainers and instructors in your city. They come to you at any time with all the equipment – all you have to focus on is your workout. We automate payment and put the power in your hands.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
It is a 40B market and growing. We have some new innovations to announce in a couple weeks as well.
What is the business model?
Currently, users can pay per training session or save and pay monthly by joining our membership (most popular). You pay 50% less than a gym, the trainer earns more, and everyone is happy. You can do boxing one day and yoga the next – whatever you feel like. You can mix it up with variety, or stick with one trainer. We’ve even created the Rebook button, which allows you to seamlessly rebook with the same trainer in a tap.
Why is personal training well suited to the on demand model?
It is an outdated industry and personal trainers are in fact, entrepreneurs. They are themselves “on demand” and the original hustlers. There has never been a convenient way for users and trainers to connect. We’re changing that with our model.
I was a varsity athlete in high school – fitness and health were and will always be a priority to me. I went on to study at The Marshall School of Business at USC after high school and was able to workout and keep it up. College students have so much time! But after graduating and getting hired at a full-time job, I found virtually no time for fitness and I was getting out of shape. I wasn’t lazy either. I woke up early, got to the gym at 6am, but this led me to exhaustion and actually moved me further away from my goals. I figured a personal trainer could help me. I went on to hire a trainer at the gym for the first time and was in absolute awe and frustrated of the entire process. Thankfully, I went through with it anyways. It was in the process when I realized how broken, outdated, and unfair it was. It was ripe for disruption.
Tell us what building your company in LA has been like?
It’s my first company and it’s been quite the journey so far. I’m currently incubating Handstand at Science Inc., Michael Jones’s tech incubator in Santa Monica, California.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
We’ve grown all over Los Angeles, Orange County, and have just expanded to New York City. We plan to open a new market every 2-3 months. We’re also releasing a solution in a few weeks that we’ll be able to announce at that time. We plan to provide the personal fitness industry with a solution for growth – for good.
If you could be put in touch with one investor in the community who would it be and why?
I have the best investors and advisors at Science, but I’ve always been the biggest fan and follower of Richard Branson. I didn’t know what propelled him into beginning his first company, but while I was interviewing one of our Handstand trainers, she brought it to my attention. It’s almost exactly the reason I began my company. Regardless of his knowledge and experience in any space, he innovates and leads with a positive outlook on the possibilities. Also, Jo Mangano.
What does being “Made in LA” mean to you and your company?
It means I was able to start with what I had and got going – fast. Startups are a race against the clock. I was able to use my resources, knowledge, and life experiences to start Handstand.
What else can be done to promote early stage entrepreneurship in Los Angeles?
Gathering local investors for pitches and networking put on by the city, either in person or digitally.
Do you think LA will land the Olympics in 2024?
That would be awesome! I’d definitely attend.