Get Physical: Houston’s Kanthaka Offers Personal Trainers in an Hour

Xconomy Texas — 

Houston—The excuses can come easy when it comes to exercising regularly. Kanthaka founder and CEO Sylvie Kampshoff wants to eliminate one of the most common: people can’t commit to a schedule.

Kanthaka is an Uber-style service for finding personal trainers: users can book a session (nearly) on-demand, giving just one hour of notice. The app was born from Kampshoff’s own experience as a corporate attorney with a hectic work schedule. A regular weekly appointment with a trainer at a local gym went unused. “Fitness was super-important to me, but I couldn’t get my workouts in,” she says.

On Kanthaka—named for Buddha’s horse—users choose between a single session or a monthly package, pick a location (home, a park, a work gym), and set a date and time and a trainer. Single sessions range from $39.99 for 30 minutes to $59.99 for an hour. Kampshoff says her average customer spends about $600 a month for two and a half sessions a week.

Trainers are paid through the app, and only after they have completed a workout report. (Trainers are required to pass a complete background check, sit for a personal interview, and have provided proof of their insurance and certifications.) “We check for sex offenders, DUI, assault,” Kampshoff says. “Safety is very important to me.”

Health and wellness are huge categories for tech, from medical devices being developed to improve care in clinics and hospitals to time-telling wearables through which users can track heart rate, steps, and other metrics. In June, New York-based Aaptiv, which developed an app that provides music-based fitness training on demand, raised $22 million, bringing the total funding for the two-year-old company to $52 million. A notable Aaptiv investor is Millennium Technology Value Partners (previous investments: Spotify, Facebook, and Alibaba), and the Amazon Alexa Fund and Disney have signed … Next Page »

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