Rowith: Chaymae and Morgan
Names: Chaymae Samir and Morgan Hellen
Date Launched: Jul 2019
Number of employees: 2
Age of founders: 25 and 26
The startup are row, row rowing their business gently to success with an audio app designed to cox you through your workout.
A personal fitness tool set to revolutionise the way we row… take a look, it's an idea sure to leave you in oar.
Tell us what your business does:
Rowith is the first fitness app providing audio-guided rowing workouts to help people get the most out of the rowing machine.
The best Olympic rowers, world champions and global personalities will help guide our members through each workout to reach their goals, making rowing fun and accessible.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
Morgan: We enjoyed competing against each other using the Nike Run Club (NRC) app and trying out new running workouts, guided by celebrities and athletes.
This joint passion for running created by the NRC was infectious and we started imagining how the same concept could be used to inspire exercise in different sports, recognising the perfect opportunity rowing presented for this style of workout. Rowith was born!
How did you know there was a market for it?
Chaymae: The fitness community recognises the benefits of indoor rowing but lacks the guidance and knowledge on safe, effective rowing machine use.
Learning to row has often been made way too complicated and intimidating. We've all been there, getting a gym membership, but not sure what to do with the equipment… So, we decided to develop an app to help.
Plus, audio is set to boom in the fitness and wellness market (forecast to be worth a whopping £430B!), and we see Rowith as offering a clear value proposition to fill in an underserved market segment.
Morgan: Rowing can burn up to 800 calories an hour and is an extremely effective full-body workout.
Rowing's efficiency and effectiveness, plus its reputation for being a low-impact workout for all ages and body types, has made it increasingly popular in gyms and fitness studios across the world!
Rowith has found a white space and is delivering against it. Indoor rowing and audio-guided coaching are booming and we believe Rowith really has its finger on that pulse.
What were you doing before starting up?
Morgan: I was a professional athlete, rowing for the British national team.
Chaymae: I had a very early start to my professional career. I worked around the world in finance and public affairs, and then started (and sold) two businesses, all before I turned 25.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Chaymae: At this point, I’m just addicted to it! I'm driven by achievement and find that running a business is the only environment in which you’re consistently challenged, whilst constantly achieving milestones that have an impact on your company, the people you work with and your customers.
Morgan: Yes, ever since I was six years old trying to sell ice lollies at one of the least busy roads in my area! But one thing I learned as an athlete is: never give up.
How did you raise the money?
Chaymae: we just won a business award and funding through the Back Her competition by NatWest and Crowdfunder, where 12 women-led businesses were selected.
On top of that, we’ll be launching our crowdfunding campaign and Natwest will match the money raised as part of the prize too.
Describe your business model and how you make money:
We make money through app-subscriptions and sponsors.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
Just getting the technology built and working seamlessly with the team requires a lot of hard work and persistence, but we’re loving the ride!
What was your first big breakthrough?
Our first big breakthrough was getting the support of athletes and world champions that loved the idea and wanted to get involved with it.
Then (more obviously) having the support and funding of NatWest and Crowdfunder before we actually launched proves that there’s an opportunity to be seized.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Morgan: Don’t waste too much time in the planning phase, take action, see if it works, if not pivot and stay dedicated. But, beware of falling in love with your business idea!
Chaymae: Starting up in the UK is easier than most countries, so take full advantage of that and make the most of it.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
There’s a lot of room for something new in the indoor rowing market: something that teaches technique, is full-body, doesn’t beat you up, and is fun and open to everyone from kids to the elderly.
Rowith also helps to democratise rowing, a sport that's perceived as an elitist discipline in Britain. We're aiming to break tradition by making rowing a sport for everyone.
Ultimately, our vision is to provide audio-guided workouts (not just for rowing but for other disciplines) and create a strong community bounded by the love of fitness and wellness.
We see ourselves extending the Rowith experience by opening physical locations, disrupting how fitness has been consumed by the masses.