WellnessLiving is a quickly growing software company based in Canada and operating internationally. To learn more about WellnessLiving, see our recent interview with the CEO and co-founder, Len Fridman:
Q: What is WellnessLiving? For those who have never heard of it, tell us something more?
A: WellnessLiving is a Canadian Software company that offers an all-in-one business management solution for the wellness industry. Our customers include yoga studios, fitness gyms, martial arts studios, beauty salons, music schools, and more. In a broader sense, any business that books appointments, offers classes, or hosts events can make good use of our services. We understand that most people don’t have time to learn complex software, so we aim to offer a comprehensive toolset for business owners that’s easy to learn and easier to use.
Q: How did your company become what it is today?
A: Back in 2009, my partner, Sasha, and I started a fitness bootcamp in our neighborhood park. It was really well received and as it grew in popularity, we realized we needed software to help us manage everything from client booking to membership payments. With limited options on the market at the time, we decided to go with MindBody.
We continued using MindBody as our bootcamp grew and branched into multiple locations across Canada. We quickly pivoted and began teaming up with yoga and fitness businesses across the country to promote a multi-studio pass, which was the first of its kind. This was back in early 2010. Think of it as a precursor to ClassPass. It was called the MetaBody Yoga and Fitness Pass, and it’s still going strong today. But as our revenue grew, so did our MindBody subscription bill. They had never worked with a company of our size and business model, so they began charging fees created just for us. It got to the point where we were cut off from their customer support and were even told if we weren’t able to pay their increasing fees, they would shut us down. That was when we decided to build our own scheduling software.
And thus, WellnessLiving was born.
We began by building a basic software platform with limited features, just enough to facilitate our business needs for the MetaBody Yoga and Fitness passes. We offered it to the studios that were taking part in our promotions and it was a huge hit. Along the way, we discovered that a lot of other studios were having the same issues with MindBody as we were. They were all frustrated and many of them wanted to leave but felt there was no real alternative.
That was our ah-ha moment. Here was an opportunity to start a company that puts the customers above the bottom line and really make a splash in the business management software sector. And that’s what we set out to do with WellnessLiving.
Today, we’ve grown a lot since our humble beginnings. We are the proud software provider for thousands of businesses around the world, and we are constantly working to advance our product and deliver the best service possible.
Q: How do people typically discover or become aware of your software?
A: As a grassroots company, we started out growing through word of mouth, and that still applies today. Though we’ve been moving into traditional & digital marketing campaigns, our customer reviews are the best promotion we could ever ask for.
Once a company hears about us, they get to sign up for a free, no-commitment demo so they can see the software in action for themselves and ask any questions they may have. We are an agile company, and we believe in creating solutions tailored to our customers’ unique business models rather than expecting everyone to fit the same mold. And that dedication towards customer service speaks for itself.
Q: You have recently raised $2.4M, could you tell us more about it?
A: Over the last few years, we’ve grown very aggressively. We’ve had consistent 100% year-over-year revenue growth from our inception. Being a bootstrap software company focused on scaling, financing is of paramount importance. We really had only two options: equity-based financing or debt-based financing. As a high growth SaaS company, we are constantly the target of many different VC and equity funds. But we decided not to give up equity and instead secured $2.4 million in debt-based financing from BDC Capital. This allows us to keep full control of our company and maintain our commitment to our customers.
We plan to use the funds to hire more support and engineering staff to fuel our growth and further our plans for research, development, and implementation of artificial intelligence.
Q: How do you see the future of WellnessLiving?
A: We want to take WellnessLiving to the very forefront of modern business technology. And we are well underway with our collaborative project with York University, where we are investing heavily in the research and development of a machine learning platform which we call ISAAC. ISAAC is an artificial intelligence that acts as a virtual business coach, which will provide business recommendations to our customers. Part of the challenge many wellness business owners face is that while they are extremely passionate and knowledgeable about what they do, many of them are not business savvy. ISAAC will access the market in real time, analyze thousands of data points and guide them to make optimal business decisions.
Q: What sets WellnessLiving apart from other software companies in its industry?
A: Our slogan is “The software company with a heart.” We focus a lot on personal connections and customer satisfaction, as we believe in taking care of people first. This includes both our customers and our employees. From participating in charity events such as Tour de Cure in support of diabetes; to making CEO Tour promo videos that put our customers in the spotlight; to organizing various team-building events; we are proud of what we do on a personal level. While other SaaS companies may have problems with customer churn, we boast one of the highest retention rates in the industry simply by treating our customers the way we want to be treated. Our customers entrusted running their entire business on our platform and we take that responsibility very seriously. We go to great lengths to ensure every customer is happy, no matter how big or small.