Gymforless has been acquired by Sodexo BRS Spain on February 1st 2018. Gymforless is a market place that gives access to more than a 1.000 fitness clubs to consumers and employees — combining thus a BtoC and BtoBtoC model.
From a simple gym access app Gymforless has become a benefit plan for companies, offering a better quality of life to their employees. As such Gymforless has attracted the attention of Sodexo Spain and the group has decided to acquire the startup. The leader in the sector of restaurant tickets plans to integrate Gymforless into their portfolio of services dedicated to contributing to the quality of life of employees and their motivation.
In this short video interview Oriol Vinzia, CEO of Gymforless talks about the past, present and future of the company:
With this acquisition Gymforless will become part of strong group while maintaining its autonomy.
“They know we are a startup and they understand we need to be able to grow at the pace of a startup.”
“If we integrate completely they know we’ll lose speed. In a few years the structure will definitely be different but at the moment we we will remain independent while creating partnerships with their existing clients.
Corporate wellness is a trend. Everybody talks about it and it becomes more and more important for companies to offer benefit policies to retain their talent. Everybody wants to work out and have it as easy as possible. With Gymforless companies can give their employees just that!”
Oriol, how did you start at Gymforless?
I joined Gymforless after the startup was founded and had been working for about a year. Guillermo Libre whom I met through Groupalia while we worked there together called me.
It was easy for him to convince me as Gymforless combines my two passions: sports and ecommerce. I started my career at Decathlon and later switched to online while working at Vente Privee and seven years at Groupalia, in the sales and marketing area.
How was your start?
When I joined Gymforless, Guillermo who had founded the company was about to leave so right away we went through a change of leadership.
The change of CEO in a very young company is not easy — I had to integrate in the team quickly and take new steps in a new direction together. As an app we started selling day passes but then pivoted to what you now know as Gymforless Club. Through our Club app you get to access different gyms in your area, you get to chose the day, activity and sports center.
The market is very competitive with a wide range of independent gyms and only very few gym chains it is also very fragmented and dispersed. We bring the gyms together so that consumers can chose easily. For gyms we bring them new users who discover their activities — Gymforless brings them extra revenue.
How did you approach sales and expansions within a city?
When Gymforless started it was not easy to sell — we did not have the app but had to sell the idea and there was nothing comparable to Gymforless in the fitness industry. So we looked to other areas where similar models are working. Booking.com does the same for hotels or ElTenedor for restaurants. We were a new player in the market, so it was first hard to explain it to gyms but after the first year the acquisition of customers has become much easier.
First we needed volume of partners and then we brought the customers. We were generating a high volume of transactions and we realized that this was an attractive offer for companies. Now we have a team dedicated to acquiring gyms, another team dedicated to acquiring companies as customers who offer Gymforless as a benefit to their employees and thirdly we have our marketing team concerned with acquiring final consumers. With this new area dedicated to b2b customers we were able to grow much faster and we’ll see what this new partnership with Sodexo will bring.
The perception that Disney is only a producer of children’s content is long gone. The company has managed to multiply by 10 its market capitalization in 10 years and I believe it will do it again in the next 10 years based on 3 factors: content, the entry in new businesses and spillover effects on current businesses.
Disney has been making movies for almost a hundred years. They have been movies for all the family but targeted to kids, which are the ultimate decision-makers when going to the movies. This is an example of the classical content they were producing up until the last 10 years.
Despite having a powerful content library, Disney has amassed the most impressive collection of content in the world via acquisitions:
21st Century Fox: 71B
Lucasfilm (2012): 4B
Marvel (2009): 4B
Pixar (2006): 7B
Hulu (2009): ??. They acquired 30% and an additional 30% with the acquisition of Fox
With the recent acquisition of Fox, there are only big four other movie studios left in the market: Sony, Warner Bros, Universal, and Paramount.
Just to give perspective. This is the list of the top 3 grossing movies for the last 3 years. Spoiler, they are all from Disney:
2017: Star Wars The Last Jedi (rubbish if you ask me), Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (not great) and Beauty and the Beast.
2018: Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War and Incredibles 2.
2019: Avengers: Endgame, Captain Marvel and Aladdin (Still not counting with Toy Story 4, Spiderman, The Lion King, Frozen 2 and Star Wars: The rise of Skywalker)
Having content as an asset in the movie industry is relevant because of the fact that over 90% of every year’s Top Box Office Hits are not original. Notice that the 9 hits mentioned above are not original content, including Captain Marvel which is a character well known despite debuting in theaters. Moviegoers are risk-averse and showing characters the public is familiar with is synonymous of success in a market where the production of a movie can cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
Another essential part of the content are the actors. They give credibility to a movie and top talent can’t wait to appear on a superhero movie. Just look at the roster of Avengers Endgame with cameos from the likes of Robert Redford, Rene Russo, Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael Douglas, Natalie Portman, William Hurt, Samuel L Jackson or Ken Jeong, the Asian character on The Hangover. All of this without accounting for the main characters. Where else can you see this?
One of the acquisitions mentioned is Hulu, a streaming platform in the US which also allows watching live content. I believe this is the future. Cable TV operators are doomed. The number of subscriber to Cable TV in the US has declined over the past years.
It’s clear the consumers are opting in to streaming on-demand platforms such as Netflix, HBO, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. That’s why Disney is launching Disney +.
This is a global trend. People across the world may not own a TV, but they have smartphones and internet connection. Netflix has launched a 3$ monthly cell-only subscription in India. Check this relentless growth of subscribers by Netflix.
Take a look at the last Shareholders report by Netflix, a public company that is burning billions every year -3,5B$ in 2019- and is expected to invest 15B$ in 2019 alone in new content. In my humble opinion, Netflix has by far the best streaming platform and the content is remarkably good, just look at the masterpiece Stranger Things season 3.
Netflix will be the main competitor of Disney, who will claw back its content from other platforms over the next years, reducing the earnings of licensing rights, but attracting customers to their platform. I believe there will be a time where platforms won’t share much content, but eventually, this will rise opportunities for multiplatform viewing apps and some years from now, platforms will reshare content once they settled a loyal customer base. Users will be subscribed to multiple platforms and they would still like to watch what’s best in every one of them. It’s not a winner take it all market.
My final bet is that there’s another big piece of content that is currently slipping away from streaming platforms, live sports. This is the last resort of traditional TV and cable TV operators who have been able to tell customers when and where to watch TV. This is no more, TV is dead.
Let’s get some perspective here. Disney is a corporation that currently (2019) has annual revenues of around 70B$ and a net income of around 13B$ (15–20%). Where do they make money from? This is a comparison YoY between the fiscal years ended on September 30th. of 2018 vs 2017. All areas grow except for merchandising. Figures in B$.
The main source of income is Media Network, which comes from ESPN, Disney Channel, ABC… Here’s the evolution of this revenue stream fro the last decade.
With the acquisition of Fox, this chart is going to experience a huge vertical shift.
PARKS AND RESORTS
Parks and resorts are the second biggest revenue stream of the Mickey Mouse company.
This is a chart with the number (in millions) of yearly by visitors by each park. Around 150 million people go to a venue managed by Disney somewhere on the planet. This can only be achieved by a great hospitality experience and the best content:
This is the revenue that comes from the distribution of movies and music.
The chart below displays the Box Office market share evolution. Disney has managed to multiply by 2,5 in ten years, and now with the inclusion of Fox, the market share could get just shy of 50%, which is ridiculous. This is a major spillover effect from the massive content acquisition.
DIRECT TO CONSUMER
This is where the new platform Disney + will come into play. Disney + is a SVOD (Subscription Video on Demand) as far as we know. Other alternatives are AVOD (Advertising Video on Demand) where the users access for free but get adds (Youtube) and TVOD (Transactional Video on Demand) which is what Google is doing among others.
So far they have had Hulu in this category, but with the introduction of Disney +, this will become of the main revenue streams for Disney. Eventually, the main one if you ask me. My guess is that in one year, Disney + can produce revenues of about 20B$ and grow from there. This is what Netflix is doing right now.
The advantage of Disney + is that they already have the content and they would only need to produce specific content for the platform such as The Mandalorian or the Marvel spinoff series with Black Widow and more. That would imply big operating profits since most content has already been amortized. The downside, however, will be the loss of the licensing revenue they get from streaming onto other platforms included in the Studio section. I’m betting this will be a money-printing machine.
Disney is a company that has endured through decades and over the last years has taken on a path of content acquisition and generation that pays off very well. This is why I am “hodling” on its stock.