Sportaneous launches retooled fitness discovery app in NYC

By Erin Griffith , written on October 9, 2012

From The News Desk

Watch out Classtivity. Sportaneous today launched a revamped version of its fitness discovery app, and it is gunning for our free time.

This is the second go-around for Sportaneous. The first version of the app was focused on spontaneous games of sports (thus, Sportaneous). It was like a Highlight for pickup sports. And like Highlight, it didn't really work. That version of the app won a small amount of capital in NYC's BigApps contest in 2011, but it struggled with the network effect. Users often signed in and found no individuals playing sports near them.

The company decided to set that aside ("I still love the idea," CEO Omar Haroun says) and populate its app with fitness activities in the form of classes and facilities. Now when you sign in, you can choose the types of activities you like. The app surfaces suggestions for you ranging from running clubs to yoga classes, based on your location and the time of day. You can book directly through the app. It's available in New York on iOS as of today.

The founders learned from their first version: Haroun says he realized fitness is an aspirational thing. "Most people want to work out more than they do," he says. Very few users of the old version of the app turned off push notifications. "They liked knowing about fitness activities around them."

Sportaneous ditched the part that requires users to be useful. Now the app shows you any kind of bookable fitness activity. "Think of us as your fitness concierge," the app urges. It's also available on the Web, though it freezes every time I try to tell it that I prefer running and yoga to swimming and basketball.

Sportaneous partnered with several providers of class and activity data to to populate the information on the several thousand New York-based activities in its app. The idea is that it will take a commission from the classes or gym memberships it books. Sportaneous will compete with Classtivity, a recent graduate from TechStars which provides a booking system for yoga, dance, sports, fitness, and martial arts classes in New York.

Sportaneous is in the process of closing a seed round of funding, Haroun says. The company presented the revamped version of its app at New York Tech Meetup this evening.