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ClassPass is officially a unicorn worth $1 billion—here’s what that means for the world beyond fitness

Rachel Lapidos

Rachel LapidosJanuary 9, 2020

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Photo: ClassPass

ClassPass broke open the boutique fitness industry in 2013 by allowing users to take an à la carte approach to studio classes. Seven years later, after testing a number of different business models and then adding a variety of offerings to its bookable services (spa treatments, digitally-streamed workouts, and even getaways), ClassPass has officially reached so-called “unicorn” status as a privately-owned startup worth a whopping $1 billion.

On Thursday, ClassPass announced its (impressive) new valuation after closing a $285 million investment round led by L Catterton (a firm involved with fitness companies Peloton, Equinox, and CorePower Yoga) and Apax Digital as well as existing investor Temasek. With the influx of cash, ClassPass is fully armed with the resources it needs to further expand globally.

“It’s super validating, and we’re really excited as we’ve been working on this for a while,” Payal Kadakia, founder and executive chairman of ClassPass, tells Well+Good. “As a female and a woman of color, it’s great to celebrate these moments, because it’s important to know that anyone who has a dream can achieve things.”

“As a female and a woman of color, it’s great to celebrate these moments.” —Payal Kadakia, founder and executive chairman of ClassPass

When it first launched, ClassPass allowed users to pay $99 for 10 boutique studio classes a month—which was groundbreaking at a time when the average fitness class charged about $25 per hour session—and then skyrocketed in popularity when, a few months later, it allowed users unlimited access to classes for under $100. Major updates (and price increases) in subsequent years only added to the company’s cache of disruption as it expanded to dozens of countries and partnered with over 30,000 studios, gyms, and wellness providers, offered wellness treatments, wellness travel packages, and moved into the digital fitness realm with ClassPass Go.

Now, as a company with unicorn status, Kadakia says that ClassPass has three main goals. First up is geographic expansion. “In the past 18 months, we’ve gone from four countries to 28. We’re going to continue this trend, heavily focused on Europe and South America,” she says. The second is a corporate wellness program. “We really have become one of the most employer-friendly models that exists in the industry and we’re really excited about that.” And third is expansion into new supply, adding more experiences beyond boutique fitness. “We’re seeing such great traction,” says Kadakia, “so we’re going to continue our investment in broadening that category.”

For Kadakia, the company’s financial backing is proof that the brand has done something right. “Our entire goal has always been to help motivate people to stay active and to discover new things,” she says. “What we find more validating is the fact that we’ve booked over 100 million reservations on the platform. The big thing we celebrate is the impact on people’s lives—the hours of people’s lives that we’ve touched.” Judging by what we’ve witnessed ClassPass achieve since its inception, it’s sure to continue disrupting the wellness world one booking at a time.

FWIW, workout burnout is a thing—here’s how to prevent it from happening to you. Also, check out our fitness challenge ideas, courtesy of this year’s ReNew Year plan. 

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