Fabio Chiaramonte of GymCraft tells us about turning cardio training into a fun game.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Fabio Chiaramonte: We are doing great. We live a little outside of Barcelona, somewhere on a mountain with lots of nature.
Therefore we have plenty of nature around us to escape to during the pandemic. We are kind of lucky to not be living in a city at this moment. Especially for my one-year-old daughter, this is important, to be able to go out and explore the world.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded GymCraft.
Fabio Chiaramonte: During my Architecture studies, I worked a lot with real-time 3D and Virtual Reality. Once I met my partner, Tilmann, we thought about transferring that knowledge to another market, fitness gamification and as we loved the positive impact for the society of that idea, we pursued that idea and founded GymCraft in 2016
How does GymCraft innovate?
Fabio Chiaramonte: We want to make fitness fun. Most people struggle with motivation, especially nonprofessionals. So we created a tech that connects real fitness equipment to videogame technology and launched our first applications. Right now we are launching our first mobile online game for cardio bikes, called “Watt Challenge”.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Fabio Chiaramonte: For us it was good. The home fitness market obviously grew and the interest in the kind of our solution increased. Generally, the growth in the home fitness market is around 30-40% due to the pandemic.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Fabio Chiaramonte: Due to the pandemic? No. Not really. I think home fitness companies are one of the profiteers of the pandemic.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Fabio Chiaramonte: We started working decentralized already 3 years ago. Our project management therefore already was routined with agile development and using organizational tools such as Trello, JIRA, and others already.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Fabio Chiaramonte: Well. competitors are the wrong word, as the market of “fitness gamification” is hardly opened up by now all players on the field are more like catalysts for the market. But there are very important role models like ZWIFT, that perfectly show, only on a relatively small niche group of professional cyclists what such an ecosystem would be capable to do.
As there are a number of cycling simulators, trying to be as real as possible, we want to be the complete opposite of that. We don´t want to be a training plan or anything serious like that, we just want to be fun, and offer people light and engaging entertainment when doing cardio exercise. In the best case, people come for the game, not for the workout. The Workout should be a side effect.
Your final thoughts?
Fabio Chiaramonte: Games are part of society. Gamers now are adults. Games are an integral part of the media and entertainment world and many other areas people would not expect at this point in time.
Just look at what happened with the $GME YOLO short squeeze. We, the nerds, are everywhere. Mechanics and habits known from the game industry will inevitably swap over to other markets at some point.
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