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Mizzou grad creates fitness app

Jake Heyen

Jake Heyen

Some months ago, Jake Heyen began to notice something on social media.

A self-described fitness enthusiast, he saw that his feeds were pulling in a lot of content related to working out. It led to a natural question for the Kansas City native who had worked in a strategic development position after graduating Mizzou with a degree in finance.

Were the creators bringing in cash for the fruits of their labor? If so, how?

“Is there a way we can make this much more efficient and effective for them?” recalled Heyen, 23. “What I came to realize was that there really wasn’t a platform that allowed them to host this content in a format where fitness is traditionally consumed and, at the same time, monetize it.”

The solution turned out to be easy enough. He decided to build one.

Hence the birth of Fitic, which Heyen describes as similar to a fitness-related version of Only Fans or Patreon. But unlike Only Fans, Heyen’s concept has subscribers shell out $10 per month and gain access to all creators on the platform.

Meanwhile, the creators themselves will be compensated based on engagement numbers from users.

There are also other differences from some comparable sites, he said. Fitic will include a mobile app as well as other features that help users to meet their fitness goals.

“[Creators] can post a video with six or eight exercises and we’re going to take each of those exercises and make a full screen on your phone on the mobile app,” he said. “You can take notes while doing that exercise. You can have timers that help you through the workout. You can go exercise by exercise like you would see in a fitness app so it is much more conducive to how someone would actually work out and want to consume that content.”

Heyen spent about six-to-eight months developing the app, which included not just building the software but also putting together strategies for marketing and customer service.

The company’s operations got underway this month but the app is now up with 15 individual content generators and trainers, from California to Boston, listed on the website which notes that 80 percent of Fitic’s revenue goes back it its creators.

He said his next hurdle is to get more big name content generators on the app.

“If you are a fitness creator, I want Fitic to be the platform that they think ‘Hey, I’m going to monetize my process’,” he said. “‘I’m going to use Fitic and I’m going to bring hundreds of thousands of followers that I have to subscribe on this app so they can use my content.’”

He said it has been a “learning process” to try and determine how best to serve each creator.

“Each influencer is unique and the problems that one might have that we can solve for them might be different for someone else, so we have to approach each one in a different way and really understand how we can cater this platform to best serve their needs,” he said.

He believes the app will benefit both users and creators by linking them via a platform that will serve both their needs.

“In the age of social media and influencers, they just have such an impact on their following and they’ve built these brands,” Heyen said. “I think if we can tap into a brand that really resonates with people through a platform like this that allows fitness creators to monetize their content as well as the end user to have a platform to access that content in a customizable way for themselves, I think there are a lot of directions we can go with it.”

He said Fitic won’t be relying as much on traditional paid advertising and hopes to leverage social media promotion and the power of his creators, who collectively have tens of thousands of Instagram followers. He is looking for perhaps 1,000-1,200 initial subscribers.

“What we’ve been using for projections is a 2.5 percent conversion rate and that’s based off the industry average for influencer marketing conversions,” he noted.

In the meantime, he’s learned a great deal in the process of being the owner of a startup as he put together the legal, financial and other aspects of the business from the ground up. Heyen sees Fitic as the intersection of three of his passions – fitness, social media and entrepreneurship.

“It taught me that, when I’m given a task, even if I may not know how to do that task, I’ve got to figure out a way to execute on it and make sure that it is performed successfully,” he said.


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