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The start-up that’s raising money for yoga studios

Bikram Yoga East Harlem
Lucky Ant uses crowdfunding to help many yoga and fitness studios across the country raise money for improvements. (Photo: Bikram Yoga East Harlem)


When Midtown’s Yo Yoga! wanted to build a new roof deck for outdoor yoga classes, it didn’t host a bake sale. It turned to a crowdfunding start-up called to help make it happen.

“We want to patch over the dips and depressions and install proper roof decking to bring the space up to its full potential,” Yo Yoga! co-owners Rebecca and Kennedy Weible wrote on their Lucky Ant fundraising page.

Lucky Ant was able to help raise $8,500 to make Yo Yoga!’s rooftop dreams come true—and they’re not the only ones.

The New York-based crowdfunding site has become a go-to resource (and a saving grace) for yoga studios looking to raise money for improvements and expansions. The site has now helped six yoga studios in New York reach their financial goals since it launched in March 2012, and many more across the country.

Rather than solicit donations, the studios typically raise money by offering yoga classes at a reduced rate, explains Lucky Ant’s Jonathan Moyal. “Rewards are structured around the businesses’ products and discounts rather than donations. No ‘donate five dollars and we’ll blow you a kiss’ on our platform.” An example: Yo Yoga! sold classes for $10 (normally $17) and a pack of 10 classes for just $75 (normally $100).

It’s a concept that’s worked well, especially in cities where real estate comes at a huge price for small businesses, and just keeping the doors open is a struggle. And as the platform gains traction, more businesses are bound to take advantage. Lucky Ant is currently raising funds for Bikram Yoga East Harlem, and it has ten more yoga and fitness projects that will be launched on the site within the next month. —Amy Eley

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