Q&A With Jacob Montoya, Co-Founder and CEO of FitSW
WHAT IS FITSW?
FitSW is a software platform for personal trainers and gyms to manage every aspect of their businesses. FitSW enables personal trainers to create workouts, track progress, plan meals, accept payments, manage schedules and more all through our iOS, Android and web applications. Our mission is to provide exceptional and simple-to-use software that empowers fitness professionals worldwide to grow their businesses and make the world healthier.
FitSW simplifies the personal trainer’s tedious task of managing all of their clients complex workouts and meal plans with its easy to use web app and mobile apps. It improves a personal trainer’s efficiency and helps them stay organized by making it easier to manage everything about their business in one place. With the improved efficiency, personal trainers can grow their business and take on additional clients.
FitSW offers a workout builder feature that allows trainers to easily create, modify, and deliver personalized workout and fitness plans to their clients. These plans can be replicated for multiple clients and shared with other trainers. FitSW offers an exercise library with 1000 exercises, complete with custom demos for the trainer to build workouts with. The trainer can also create their own exercises and video demos on the platform.
There is a nutrition and meal planning feature, similar to the workout builder, that allows trainers to create meal plans. A trainer can create their own food and beverage items or access FitSW 5,000+ built-in foods. Clients can log onto their client portal, record actual intakes, add notes and communicate with their trainer. Trainers and clients can also track and share progress for any type of metric from body fat percentage to vertical jump height.
With COVID-19 having a major impact on personal trainers and gyms, we have added features that enable trainers and gyms to stay successful despite everything going on. We have added a Live Online Class feature where trainers can lead live online classes right there in our platform. In addition, we have also beefed up our online training features to make it easier for trainers to keep their clients on track without having to meet with them in-person.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA FOR FitSW?
I have always been interested in fitness and was a part-time personal trainer during college. During this time, trainers were mostly using pen and paper or spreadsheets in order to plan out their clients fitness programs. I saw a need for a product like FitSW, but I didn’t yet have the technical capabilities to implement something like it. Smart phones were not a thing at that time, and they are a key aspect in making technology like FitSW easier to use. I mostly forgot about the idea once I started work as a software engineer.
Years later, while pursuing my MBA I had the opportunity to come up with a business idea as part of one of my entrepreneurship courses. By that time, I had worked as a software engineer for a few years and thought I could create an MVP web app version of FitSW for this class. I hadn’t done much web development so it took some time, but I was able to launch fitsw.com and after mentioning it on a few forum posts we actually got users that used it and gave us good feedback.
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO JOIN XI’S AMPLIFY PROGRAM?
I had attended the XI Accelerator Demo Day as an audience member to learn more about the program and during that event I saw how strong XI’s mentor group was. As I learned more about XI, I saw just how many mentors there were in their curated group that were able to help startups in a variety of ways. The breadth of knowledge from this group was impressive, and I wanted to have access to them in a formal program. I was also impressed with the XI staff and was eager to have them in my corner.
Another bonus of the program that appealed to me was that startups could work out of the XI Venture Center which I had previously toured. It’s an awesome space, and the idea of me working out of there with several other startups and mentors nearby was much more appealing than my team continuing to work out of my basement.
IF YOU HAD ONE PIECE OF ADVICE FOR SOMEONE JUST STARTING OUT IN THE ENTREPRENEURSHIP WORLD, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Ideas are cheap and execution is king. It’s easy to sit around brainstorming ways to make a product better or think of new product ideas. Being able to prioritize and execute those ideas quickly is the hard part and the part that differentiates product success. Sometimes startups can devote too much time to thinking about all the cool product features they could add rather than just executing some key features that need to be done now. Not to say brainstorming isn’t important, but it’s a balance for startups between thinking about product features and executing and a lot of time it is easier to procrastinate the executing in favor of product brainstorming. You can often gain a lot of unexpected insights from getting a product or feature out in customers’ hands that you won’t get from a brainstorming session.
WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT ASPECT OF DEVELOPING A STARTUP?
One of the most difficult aspects of developing a startup is figuring out how to prioritize what to devote your limited time and resources too. There are always so many things that your startup could do in order to grow but you never know which one will be the best. There is no template to follow for your specific startup situation. This is great in some ways because you get to be a trailblazer but it is also difficult. My solution to this difficult aspect, is to get advice from mentors or fellow start-up founders who may have insights from somewhat similar situations. XI Amplify is a great program for providing startups access to these insights and these insights ensure you have a broad perspective. At that point, I often feel I have gained enough perspective to then go with my “informed” gut.