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Contxto – Latin American startups seem to have everyone’s back when it comes to the holiday battle of the bulge. As a large portion of the world scales up their caloric intake this December, Brazil’s Gympass—a fitness scaleup looking to connect corporate workers with a network of gyms—has expanded to Ireland after partnering with Gym Plus.
The newly formed alliance has hit the ground running with eight locations ready to welcome those looking to get fit.
Indeed, Gym Plus CEO, Dirk van der Flier, hailed the move as practically a no-brainer. He believes the ethos of both companies overlaps perfectly. As van der Flier put it:
“Our partnership with Gympass has been set up to achieve our joint mission of defeating inactivity in our communities. We are already starting to welcome new and previously inactive people to our clubs, showing that this harder-to-reach demographic can be accessed by Gympass.”
Flexicurity at both work and play
The idea of Gympass has always been to adapt to people’s evolving needs in a digital age. Europe has become accustomed to “flexicurity” at work—combining the benefits of flexible work with more security than that of a freelancer—. Therefore, to keep up, companies have begun implementing similar solutions in the worlds of recreation, play, and leisure.
Thus, Gympass networks gyms to give corporate employees no excuses to get out there and work for their dream body. The idea is for them to be able to do it whenever—and more importantly—wherever they want.
As Eamon Loyd—head of Partnerships UK, Ireland & Netherlands—says, this Brazilian company is “geared up for the corporate sector with a good choice of early morning, lunchtime, and early evening classes that dovetail nicely with the working day.”
Consequently, it should be unsurprising that it is disruptive companies that are signing up to Gympass’s scheme. The likes of WeWork are key affiliates to the program. Similarly, Diageo is also a corporate partner, making this a rather well-rounded business model. You know that this global alcoholic drinks conglomerate will be responsible for much of the weight-gain we’ll be seeing over the next few weeks.
Brazil in Ireland, Europe and beyond
Brazil’s Gympass isn’t wrong to have set its sights on Ireland. This business-friendly—read tax-exempting—island republic is the logical continuation of the company’s continuing regional expansion.
Indeed, the European gym market is the world’s biggest by expenditure according to a 2018 Deloitte study. This is a region that spends US$30.3 billion a year. That’s bigger than even the United States’ by about a billion dollars.
Keen observers might note that the size of the European market is no indicator of Gympass’ future success. The scaleup is probably aware of this too since the Irish expansion follows the company’s recent acquisition of Portugal’s Flaner.
The purchase, worth US$300 million, carried out last June is set to sophisticate Gympass’s operations. Flaner is an artificial intelligence (AI) startup and its analytical capabilities will be absorbed into the Brazilian fitness company so as to better calibrate user experiences to their local health centers.
This increased sophistication will no doubt give the scaleup a competitive edge as it continues to expand across Europe, as well as to consolidate its hold back home in Latin America.
So, keep that in mind, Latin American founders: whether it be your weight lifting or your international plans for expansion, go big or go home.