#OttawaInc – Fitchek

Jan 7, 2016

Number of Employees:   6

Year Established:   2015

What They Do:    Marketing portal for fitness studios and trainers

Much of the innovation and disruption around the fitness industry seems to focus on the “fit” side of the equation; whether it’s a new type of weight bench or wearable technology that tracks all those reps and burned calories. However, Ottawa startup Fitchek is looking to do the heavy lifting for studio owners. Their technology seamlessly helps studios and trainers get discovered, get booked and get paid without breaking a sweat.

To help gain a leg up, the company has joined Invest Ottawa’s Incubator. Although the company already had customers and revenue, they wanted access to IO’s entrepreneurs’ in residence and networks.

Russell Coltess

Russell Coltess, CEO & Founder of Fitchek

We spoke with Fitchek’s CEO & Founder Russell Coltess about what they do and the Ottawa ecosystem:

Say I don’t work in technology – explain to me what you do? The problem you solve?

Nearly half of health & fitness sessions sit empty because there’s no easy way for customers to find, book and securely pay for sessions with local studios and trainers.  We are trying to bring that all together with Fitchek. We connect fitness studios, trainers and health professionals with today’s on-demand culture of consumers who want information and frictionless ordering capabilities at their fingertips.

What was the light bulb moment that sparked the idea?

A few of us were searching for a local fitness studio with varying sessions or classes that we could simply drop-in on.  We were able to find a directory type of listing but nothing in regards to any detail about the actual trainer or any available classes that day, week or month that we could seamlessly purchase and attend.  

From there we asked friends, family and people either active or looking to get in the fitness community how they searched for a trainer or fitness studio.  We quickly learned they had the same pain and frustrations we had. Our next step was talking to fitness trainers and learning where their needs weren’t being met.   Taking what we learned from these two groups, we assembled an amazing team of fitness and tech junkies determined to solve both parties’ pain points and Fitchek was born.

The Fitchek platform on a fitness partner's website

The Fitchek platform on a fitness partner’s website

How did you discover Invest Ottawa’s Incubator?

Invest Ottawa has a well-regarded reputation around Ottawa. We heard about the incubator through another startup founder that works out of Invest Ottawa and has found it beneficial.

What made you choose it?

Probably the number one reason we chose Invest Ottawa is to be around like-minded startup founders. Our aspirations with Fitchek are to become a globally scalable and dominant leader in the fitness industry and we know that Invest Ottawa has the right people within its ecosystem to help get us there.

What words would you use to describe the Ottawa Ecosystem?

Exciting! Growing! One of a kind!

Which Ottawa companies excite you (besides Shopify)?

The first company we are most excited to see grow out their product offerings at the moment is ZiNation, who are helping e-commerce folks in three easy clicks turn their storefronts on Shopfiy/Magento into really slick looking interactive magazines.  The second company we are most excited about is Travelabulous, who are helping vacation travellers plan and book their vacations through recommendations and tips from those that have travelled to their desired destinations already. 

Read more about Ottawa’s ecosystem and startups here

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