A mere 4 percent of female-led startups are run by Black women. One of those women is Sarah Kunst. But discouraging stats aside, Kunst is not letting the numbers stop her. After building a more than impressive career in the tech world, Kunst has launched a new fitness app called Proday.
It was at Apple that she got her start. Next, she became a retail innovations investor at Mohr Davidow Ventures, where she ran business development and product at fashion app Kaleidoscope. In December 2013, Kunst became an investor board member at Venture For America. Venture For Americas goal is to help college graduates get exposure in the startup world.
Over the course of her career, Kunst has amassed a number of accolades. Shes a 2015 Forbes 30 Under 30 Award winner; she was named among the 46 Most Important African-Americans In Technology by Business Insider and Marie Claire Young Gun–Top Women Under 35; and Levo League’s 8 Women To Watch. Shes worked on the Commission Member New York City Department of Education Business and Finance Industry Commission. Shes also worked as a consultant to various corporate giants. And she is now the co-host of a new Forbes podcast.
Most recently, shes launched her own business, which was started from a personal need. Busy traveling, she found she had no time to work out, thus the idea for Proday. I founded Proday in August 2015. It was born out of my own need. I wanted to workout and be inspired by the world’s fittest people to push myself, but I didn’t have the time to travel to the gym or hire a costly personal trainer, she says. I needed an alternative without excuses. A fun, challenging workout that I could do anytime, anywhere. I got started alongside my developer and leveraged my network to set up meetings and lock in investors and athletes while building the app.
Proday is a subscription workout app that lets users exercise alongside professional athletes and fitness celebrities. For $60 a year (or $150 for a lifetime founding subscription), Proday members can watch fitness videos or even follow along with GIFs on their iPhones, exercising along with professionals. With an affordable subscription, the user has access to exclusive workouts from professional athletes, Olympians and trainers in football, basketball, soccer, gymnastics, swimming and more. The athlete takes the viewer through their personalized workouts in the apps, explaining and demonstrating each movement. The programs are designed for every fitness level, spanning cardio, strength and flexibility training.
Kunst wanted to make working out alone a more fulfilling experience. We use world-class fitness tracking and training methods to ensure progressive overload with every workout and our famous athletes provide a mix of video, gifs and photos to keep subscribers entertained and motivated. Our customers finally have an entertaining, behind the scenes look at their favorite athletes workouts with best in class tracking tools to make sure that they reach their fitness goals in record time.
For the venture, she got backing by the Los Angeles Dodgers accelerator program along with funding from well-known angel investors Arielle Zuckerberg and Sara Haider. Kunst is also raising a $500,000 seed round. Even with the financing in place, Kunst had other startup challenges. The biggest problem I had when building this startup in the beginning was simply brand recognition. Nothing happens until you make it happen. No one knows your company. No one knows your website exists; there is no momentum unless you put your head down and work to create awareness, she shares.
Now that Proday is up and running, Kunst has major plans for the app. Our goal by the end of 2016 is to have millions of users who love our product and can’t wait to workout with Proday, she declares and adds, Our goal is to build a worldwide fitness entertainment and sports lifestyle brand. Proday will be the world’s largest gym without owning a single physical location!
Having already established herself in the tech arena, Kunst says shes happy being an entrepreneur. I decided to strike out on my own because I realized I had a problem that had developed over time–I was so busy traveling for my job in venture capital investing that I stopped working out and felt completely out of shape! I had tried numerous training apps and programs that left me feeling uninspired or didn’t fit into my busy schedule, so I knew there was opportunity there to develop something that not only inspired me, but others that were in the same situation, she explains.
She continues, I did my research and found out that while 73 percent of Americans want to work out twice a week, less than 20 percent achieve this goal. This breakage occurs because finding a fun, engaging workout and sticking with it while safely and consistently seeing results and achieving progressive overload (gradually increasing stress on the body to get stronger and faster without getting hurt) is the brass ring of fitness that few reach.
What has been the most surprising thing Kunst has found about entrepreneurship? She answers, How rewarding it is. To start with an idea and build an entire company and team around it is really magical and one of the most empowering experiences in the world while also being one of the hardest.