Expond raises $1.25 million in seed funding, connects clients with fitness professionals
Santa Barbara-based Expond is an online booking platform that connects individuals and companies with health and fitness professionals offering customized services.
Expond recently raised $1.25 million in seed round funding in less than a year.
The total investment will allow Expond to expand into new markets, launch a more robust platform and further develop its user database.
“I started as a trainer 20 years ago,” Jason Baker, founder and CEO of Expond, told the News-Press. “Working as a trainer, there are only so many hours in a day. I always wanted to create a platform system to help fitness trainers increase their businesses.
“I started Fitness 805 in 2006, which created a bridge between health and fitness officials and clients trying to find health professionals. It worked, but we didn’t have the technology to streamline,” he said. “Fast forward to the pandemic when we saw trainers losing jobs and fitness businesses going under. What Expond does is we have created a platform business to bring out fitness professionals and give them benefits they didn’t have before and help fitness professionals create and build their own business.”
Expond’s intuitive software creates a marketplace for health and fitness professionals, by connecting users to service providers offering fitness, wellness, and experiences.
The demand has exploded to the point that today’s global wellness economy is worth $4.8 trillion. People are looking for outdoor adventures and better ways to address their mental and physical well-being.
Expond responds to this demand by identifying qualified providers and building a collection of offerings that include meditation, hiking, surf lessons, kayaking, massages, yoga and more through the ease of the Expond platform.
Currently, there are more than 65 Exponders providing approximately 155 recurring monthly classes. In the last three months, they have facilitated 45 large group events.
On average, Exponders conduct almost 400 sessions each month.This initial funding will strengthen the company’s position to develop stronger partnerships in 2023.
“I founded Expond in 2021,” Mr. Baker told the News-Press. “There are two ends of the software platform. The first side creates gigs for health and fitness professionals. The second side helps to develop and build health and fitness professionals.
“Everyone is really great at what they do,” he explained further. “They just need help with the backbone of the business and generating income.”
The News-Press asked Mr. Baker about the latest seed funding for Expond.
“The recent round of funding enables us to put more money into development,” he explained. “The specific breakdown is 40% development, 20% marketing and 40% operational costs. By development, I mean the current work being done to develop an app to make it an easy experience for health and fitness professionals to use the platform.”
“One sector of business that has really benefited from us is the hospitality industry,” Mr. Baker explained. “During the pandemic, 30% of hospitality jobs were lost. Our platform allows hospitality clients to book services through us. The platform has become an uber for health and fitness professionals. The hotel can offer services available through the hotel to the guest. The hotel received a percentage of the profits.”
Mr. Baker said his business is working mainly with two local hotels — the Rosewood Miramar Resort in Montecito and the Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara, resort in Goleta.
“We provide three categories of services,” Mr. Baker said. “Personal training, which includes one-on-ones, boot camp, hit training, fusion cardio and more. Wellness, which includes all forms of yoga, including reformer and floor pilates. Thirdly, meditational services that would include mindfulness meditation, sound bath healing and reiki.”
“I think the most exciting part is we are now able to help so many more people in need of services,” Mr. Baker said.
He said his company’s goals include helping people learning the trade to become certified trainers.
“We have seen a huge uptick in anxiety and depression after COVID, and we want to do our part to provide health and wellness professionals at the click of a button,” he said. “We strongly believe our platform is making the industry better and providing a place for health and fitness professionals to develop their businesses and generate revenue.”