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It's rare for this city to feel genuinely excited about a tech service. San Francisco may top the charts in early adoption, but it's also up there on the blasé meter. So you know you're onto something good when this tech-saturated town not only gets excited for, but actually commits to, using a new service. And that's exactly what Payal Kadakia, CEO and co-founder of ClassPass, is seeing with her gym alternative subscription service. It initially launched in NYC in June 2013 before making its way to SF, where Payal has seen an upswing in outdoor fitness classes and social media sharing. But what makes it different from similar platforms is ClassPass's commitment to the active lifestyle, whether that means lifting weights, ballet class, or even music lessons. It's the flexibility and variety —in addition to accessibility and a seamless interface— that make ClassPass the most life-changing service that Racked SF has seen this year.
ClassPass is a concept that was triggered by Payal's personal creative outlet: dance. She studied operations research at MIT before going on to gigs at Bain Capital and Warner Music Research Group, but she never stopped dancing, (even if it was just for an odd hour that she could squeeze into her schedule). She knew she wasn't the only busy professional seeking out classes, so she set out to start ClassPass to take friction out of her life.
It actually began as an a la carte program that charged users for one-off classes; the model shifted to a monthly subscription to remove hurdles. "Passport was the original product, but it then pivoted to add more variety," Payal explains. The cost per month is $99 and includes unlimited classes at partner studios. Users can only visit the same studio three times per billing cycle.
SF is the fourth ClassPass city —NYC, LA, and Boston launched first— but that just means the product was refined before Payal and her team released it to the most tech-savvy location. Payal notes that SF users are the best at sharing ClassPass details (whether that's pre-class or post) via Facebook and Google+. And that has been a factor in gaining users here.
"[ClassPass is] in tune with the customers because they're us," Payal explains on behalf of her team. "Would it make us workout? We wanted to build a long term solution and we went about it in a thoughtful way." The company's message is clear: Live an active lifestyle because it will help you make the best decisions in all areas of life. "I think what's awesome is some people didn't realize they loved variety until they tried ClassPass," Payal says. "Then they challenged their bodies and they grew mentally and physically."
There are three points that make ClassPass the best in Payal's eyes: the accessibility, the flexibility, and the technology. And there are new, exciting features on the horizon, she promises. "We're continuously innovating," she explains without letting too much slip. Stay tuned for ClassPass's Fitness Night Out later this month on October 21. It's the perfect opportunity to fête the life-altering service and its Racked SF accolade. Until then, sign up here to give ClassPass a try.
· ClassPass [Official Site]
· Racked 2014 Awards [Racked SF]