Female fitness studio chain AimFit has raised a seed round of $1 million to become the first VC-backed fitness start-up out of Pakistan. Indus Valley Capital, a Pakistan-focused fund started by LinkedIn’s former VP Growth Aatif Awan, led the round.
Angel investors include a unicorn founder and the founding team of Atoms amongst other high profile investors from across the globe.
Founded by sister duo Mahlaqa and Noor, after returning from studies at Oxford University in 2014, AimFit has quietly led a female fitness revolution serving an ultra-engaged community of over 5000 members with over 42,000 5-star fitness experiences to date.
The company organically expanded from a small rented space in Lahore to four of its own studios served by a team of 55 instructors, all of whom were trained through AimFit’s own instructor academy and certification.
Leveraging its viral brand, AimFit launched a bootstrapped online offering within 24 hours of the COVID-19 lockdown to strong online traction from its members. It now plans to turbo-charge this growth through its online platform complemented by expansion of its studio footprint across Pakistan.
Mahlaqa and Noor first got into fitness through rowing at Oxford. Mahlaqa later realized this passion while working in technology consulting with Deloitte in London. Upon their return to Pakistan, disappointed by the lack of female fitness spaces, the sisters started AimFit to serve their own fitness needs that snowballed into a viral female fitness community.
AimFit is on a mission to revolutionise female fitness in Pakistan and across similar emerging geographies. What truly differentiates AimFit is the transformative impact it has had on its members who refer to AimFit as #MyHappyPlace. The team at AimFit envision a Pakistan where a fit and healthy lifestyle is within everyone’s reach.
With this as the goal, they are working on a viral online fitness platform that caters to localized taste and needs. COVID-19 expedited the online launch and they now plan to double down on their ‘omni-channel’ model by rapidly expanding across Pakistan (online and with anchor studios across major cities) over the coming months, before targeting international expansion”
With the fifth largest population in the world, Pakistan shockingly ranked 149 out of 150 countries for recreational physical activity by participation in 2018 measured by the Global Wellness Institute. Other health indicators such low-life expectancy compared to regional benchmarks also point to significant room for improvement, which presents a massive, under-tapped opportunity.
The situation across other similar geographies is no different with large markets like Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka also recording less than 26% participation rate in physical activity. The AimFit sisters are set on changing this statistic, a feat that the boom in online fitness start-ups of the west has not managed to tackle.
With a duo of female founders at the helm, and a mostly all-female management team, the company is well aware of the issues women face in adopting a healthy lifestyle. The team truly takes pride in shattering notions of what women can and cannot do. The AimFit team has already converted 1000s of women to the cause of fitness.
Simultaneously they have championed a cause of training, hiring and keeping women in the workforce with flexible working hours and supportive policies. As mothers to young children, Noor and Mahlaqa both understand the challenge for women to juggle a career and family as well as prioritize their health and wellbeing. They use their personal experience to help inform both their product, service and management strategy.
AimFit plans to use the investment to build its technology product and expand its studio blueprint enabled by the development of a strong management team. The company will be launching flagship studios across major cities of Pakistan in the first half of 2021 in addition to rolling out its online platform across all Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities.
To be one of the first to access AimFit’s online platform, sign-up via their website here.