Wello hits the ground running today, offering live personal training over two-way video to triathletes, couch potatoes, and everyone in between.
The website gives users access to quality workouts anytime, anywhere by connecting them with verified fitness professionals. As long as there is a computer, an internet connection, and a little bit of space, exercise is possible.
On Wello, aspiring exercisers can find training options to suit every level, preference, and schedule. You can search the database by activity type, trainer personality, time, and session length. Feel like circuit training with a drill sergeant for 25 high-intensity minutes? You got it. Or perhaps an hour of yoga with a zenned-out instructor is more your style? That’s available too. Workouts are customized and the trainers provide direct guidance, motivation, and feedback.
“It is a challenge for most people to find the time or motivation to go to the gym or on a run,” said founder Leslie Silverglide. “No one does burpees on their own. You have to have someone there to make sure you do the things you know you should do, but don’t want to.”
Silverglide and her co-founder Ann Plante met in business school at Stanford. Both women were health buffs — Plante played tennis at Dartmouth and Silverglide was a gymnast and squash player before she started health food restaurant chain MixtGreens. As busy students, the friends struggled to fit fitness into their daily schedules. They tried gym memberships, exercise groups, and home videos, but nothing provided the degree of personal interaction, motivation, or flexibility they required.
After graduating with MBAs last June, Silverglide and Plante dedicated themselves to building a company that would make exercise accessible, personalized, and pleasant under all circumstances.
“All busy people can be time crunched, and this is a convenient way to get in a workout you wouldn’t otherwise be able to,” Plante said. “We have people on our platform looking to lose 100 pounds and we have marathon runners. We make it easier for anyone to get and stay fit.”
By creating an exercise option that accommodate all schedules and needs, Wello appeals to people across the board from traveling professionals cooped up in hotel rooms to new moms looking to get back in shape.
“I am a busy mom working as a brand marketing consultant and taking care of 2 year old twins,” said client Oleysa Alferenko. “I juggle a lot of priorities. I don’t want to give up working out, but I am terrible at motivating myself to do it. Wello appeals to me because it allows me to fit highly effective workouts around my life as opposed to the other way around.”
Wello already has an impressive roster of personal trainers ready and willing to whip you into top form. Trainers create profiles detailing their credentials, areas of expertise, workout style, fees, and available appointment slots. Users search through the available options and book sessions that are right for them. Workouts last for 25, 40, or 55 minutes and there are no downloads, software, or special equipment required.
Sessions cost an average of $40, far less than most personal training sessions. Some options are as low as $5, while big name trainers charging significantly more. Wello has several celebrity spokespeople on board, including A-List trainer Michael George, who has worked with Reese Witherspoon, and Olympic Cyclist Evelyn Stevens, who conducts power yoga sessions from all over the world. The geographic flexibility appeals to trainers and users alike. Fitness professionals also appreciate that Wello allows them to adapt their work life to their personal life.
“I discovered how much more convenient Wello was than training clients in person,” said boot camp trainer Kelly Kallbrier. “You can continue training clients who moved away, pick the rate you want to charge, pick the hours you want to work, meet new clients, train from any location with internet, and save a ton of time.”
Wello is currently raising a seed round. The team is based in Palo Alto and consists of 6 people, including a trainer whose sole job it is to onboard fitness professionals. Ultimately, Silverglade and Plante would like to see Wello expand beyond exercise, connecting people via live, interactive video with experts on a wide range of health and wellness subjects, like nutrition and sports psychology.