A Melbourne startup has announced a major pivot, moving away from fitness class booking to provide an on-demand platform for in-home massages.
Fizeque launched last year offering an Australian version of ClassPass, but co-founder Mark Sita says he decided to pivot away from this idea after spotting a bigger market opportunity.
“We realised we could drive more volume in by creating this new innovative way to doing massage,” Sita tells StartupSmart.
Some exploration of competition and other lifestyle service market models motivated Sita to convert Fizeque into a platform that delivers massage therapists to users’ doors.
“There’s no online platform that was really dominant in Australia doing that,” he says.
Fizeque now lets users book licensed massage therapists anytime between 8am and 9pm daily.
Customers can request services, make payments and receive push notifications via the platform and all therapists are screened before being accepted onto the platform.
Fizeque’s main source of revenue will be the commission it makes from bookings, which is set at 18% at the moment.
“We’re open to kind of seeing how the market responds to that,” Sita says.
Sita says he is hoping the on-demand massage service platform will catch on and aims to have 1000 bookings a month within two years.
“If we hit that, we’ll be in a very, very good position,” he says.
Sita says he chose to keep Fizeque’s name despite the change in direction because it fits in with their overarching mission of helping people live “healthier and happier lives”.
“We really liked the name and it’s applicable as a brand on our various wellness services, ideally we want to do very well in one market and then build up from there,” Sita says.
Knowing when to pivot
On the incredibly hard journey of building a startup, Sita says that thinking big and having a vision has helped him stay committed to the cause.
“I don’t want to regret not doing it,” he says.
“This is the best time do it, it will be worth it.”
Sita says that early on when the venture is quite small is a good time to test different options and markets.
“It was clear that there was a better opportunity and there wasn’t too much work for us to transition into that,” he says.
“Our vision and mission didn’t really change.”
But before pivoting it’s important to consider how long it will take to develop the MVP and to justify whether it would be worth refocusing effort and resources on a new model, he says.
And it’s crucial to keep your customers in the loop.
“We made regular contact with all our users throughout the whole process, it was very manual, it was very personal,” Sita says.
“It was really getting to know what the person wanted and learning how we could develop a product to them.
“Because they were happy with the service and experience, they stayed.
“As the big VCs say, execution is everything – it’s easy to say but hard to do.”