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Mens sana in corpore sano.

The latin phrase means “a healthy mind in a healthy body”, and is a widely spread antidote in wellness communities, but how much of the population actually devotes time to exercise on a regular basis? And is it even a priority in developing countries?

To understand the attitude towards fitness in Indonesia, ecommerceIQ surveyed 30 young Jakartans, ages 20 to 35 years old, about their habits. 73 percent of respondents said they didn’t participate in sports and/or fitness regularly due to busy work schedules (22) and 23 percent claimed to be too shy to do fitness or sports alone (7). A single respondent didn’t know how to exercise.

An Indonesian booking platform named DOOgether aims to change the attitude of urban Indonesians and help them overcome common obstacles like the mentioned above for not exercising. The startup connects sports enthusiasts in Greater Jakarta with a database of over 80-100 fitness studios, gyms and sport centers offering zumba and basketball.

The company will be capturing a piece of the Indonesia fitness services market estimated to reach revenues of approximately USD$298 million by 2020.  

“Essentially DOOgether is a community that enables people to book sports activities that suit their schedules and also encourage beginners to try new activities,” says Fauzan Gani, CEO and co-founder of DOOgether.

“Based on last year’s performance, we believe we can convince more studios to list on our platform as we see a rise in fitness awareness among Indonesians.”

The startup was founded in 2016 by Fauzan and his friend Helmy Ikhsan, now COO of DOOgether, after their own difficulty finding suitable sports classes in Jakarta. It was a stark contrast to their university days in Australia.

“Helmy and I were discussing the headache of booking the right sport venue near,” shares Fauzan. “We decided to solve our own problem.”

Introducing Itself to Jakartans

In December 2016, the startup closed an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Indonesian businessman and chairman of Inter Milan, Erick Thohir, after bootstrapping from day one.

Having money meant aggressively launching on mobile through both an iOS and Android app less than one year later to reach more users. By working with fitness influencers in Indonesia, the company was also able to build a strong social media following and invite the masses to its trademark offline event like DOOday.

The full day event, held 2-3 times a month, invites all users to participate in a unique themed activity such as yoga on top of a helipad or combining mini-soccer and zumba.

One of DOOgether’s trademark offline event DOOday.

An average of 50 participants attend for smaller scale events offer zumba and yoga and 240 participants for larger scale events like mini soccer cups or basketball competitions.

Speaking with ecommerceIQ, Fauzan says the company’s focus is more on offline to acquire and educate Indonesians about the benefits of fitness. For the founder, these offline touchpoints are crucial for an early stage startup to promote its platform and build a community.

Are Indonesians ready to get active?

The startup appears to compete with popular subscription based fitness apps like Singapore-based GuavaPass, but Fauzan doesn’t consider the company as a competitor.

“What GuavaPass offers is membership with a monthly fee of roughly IDR 1 million (USD$75.20). We offer flexible classes on a pay as you go model. Our biggest competitor is how users spend their time doing anything but going to the gym like being stuck in traffic or hanging out at the movies,” laughs Fauzan.

BMI Research predicts that spending on sports, camping and open-air recreational activities in Indonesia will grow by an average of 11.6 percent year on year with the market forecast at IDR 3.8 trillion in 2021, up from 2.5 trillion IDR (USD$186 million) in 2017.

Strong growth in spending on sports and outdoor activities in Indonesia (IDR billion) and IDR % y-o-y growth). Graphic credit: BMI Research/ National Bureau of Statistics

The increased spending on outdoor activities seems to correlate with the growing population of young adults (20-35 years old) in the country – 1.45 million in 2017 to roughly 86 million by 2021. The hyper marketed Asian Games 2018 set to start in August will also increase the interest in fitness.

Growing young adults segment to drive sports spending of young adults in Indonesia (20 – 39 years old), ‘000 Graphic credit: BMI Research/ UN

By the end of December 2017, DOOgether claimed to offer more than 100 fitness studio and gym partners, with available to be booked more than 3,000 classes per month. Fauzan believes that in 2018, DOOgether can double its numbers.

But before the company can serve more users in Indonesia, it will need to solve a few bugs with its technology. During the interview, Fauzan noted that his team is currently working to improve the interface to help users find information more easily on its mobile application.

Fauzan strongly believes that for DOOgether to become a one-stop sport platform, it needs to value feedback from its users and always be hungry for more.

“We will continue to focus on being the biggest sports platform and ecosystem in Indonesia. The country is filled with over 250 million people and anyone can love sports, whether it is an individual or a team activity,” said Fauzan.

We hope to bring the entire industry together and help Indonesians be healthier in just one click.”