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RepCount – Growing a Gym App during Lockdowns

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Simon Persson REPCOUNT

We talked to Simon Persson, founder of RepCount, about fitness training and workout, and this is what he said about it.

First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?

Simon Persson: It is hard for everyone. We are doing pretty well under the circumstances, but I think we are all tired of all restrictions and what it means to our social life. Hopefully, things will improve soon with the vaccines.

Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded RepCount.

Simon Persson: After finishing my master was in computer science almost 15 years ago, I was lucky to join a great mobile app agency creating apps for Java ME, Symbian, and later Android and iOS.

RepCount started as a side project back in 2013. I had just finished reading The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, which was a big inspiration. At the time, I was assigned to a web development project at work and wanted to keep my iOS skills alive. Strength training has always been a passion of mine. The workout log app I used for strength training had been abandoned, and I couldn’t find a replacement that worked the way I wanted it to. Less than 2 months later, the first version of RepCount was out on the AppStore!

How does RepCount innovate?

Simon Persson: Small improvements over time really add up. When RepCount was launched back in 2013, it averaged one release every 10 days for the first year. Today, this may not sound too impressive, but back then, it took 7 days to get each update past Apple Review! If you really listen to feedback and make small adjustments over time, your product will improve a lot more than you think. It is amazing to see how far the app has come after 8 years of continuous effort.

How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?

Simon Persson: Second quarter of 2020 was tough. RepCount is specifically made for tracking gym sessions. And with gyms closing during lockdowns, usage dropped by more than 50% overnight, and there were almost no new subscribers for months. I quickly adapted the app to improve the tracking experience for exercises typically performed at home, like bodyweight training, which helped a little, but it was still very hard, and I had to cut costs wherever I could.

When Great Britain lifted restrictions on their first lockdown in late July, things started to come around. That the app has a global reach has definitely been helpful. For example, Germany is still under heavy lockdown, whereas South Korea currently seems to be doing a bit better.

With the changes and tweaks to home training in combination with tweaks and optimization, the app actually managed to grow quite a lot compared to 2019. Q4 2020 was actually at an all-time high in terms of revenue, which was a surprise to me. 2021 looks very promising so far!

Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?

Simon Persson: RepCount is a very lean company and has a very low cost of operation. I am the sole founder and have no employees. Instead, I outsource when needed and make use of external services when appropriate to improve efficiency. One difficult choice was to increase pricing during the crisis, and that I had to get rid of a few external services that I would have liked to keep but did not deliver enough ROI when sales plummeted. If RepCount had not been as lean as it is and adjusted pricing, it would not have survived Q2 2020. But now, I think it is actually coming out stronger than it was entering the crisis. Sometimes, being forced to adapt isn’t a bad thing in the long run.

What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?

Simon Persson: RevenueCat has been amazing for managing my app subscriptions and tracking revenue trends in different countries. I can’t recommend them enough. I use AppRadar for app store optimization, and this has also been a super helpful tool to improve efficiency and adapt the store listing multiple countries at the same time.

Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?

Simon Persson: There is a ton of competitors in the strength training space, so it is a tough space to be in. I have actually seen many competitors disappear or put their development on hold during the past year. For RepCount, it is full speed ahead. The app has managed to grow through the crisis, and things are looking good for 2021! I can’t go into too much detail, but RepCount, but there are some exciting changes planned for 2021.

Your final thoughts?

Simon Persson: The crisis has been hard for the whole Health and Fitness industry. Gym owners and personal trainers have been hit especially hard. But on the other hand, I think people’s awareness of health and fitness has increased, which is a good thing. I think this trend will continue for a long time even after countries start opening, and that this will lead to more people exercising, more people meditating, more people eating right and more people taking better care of themselves in general. The whole Health and Fitness space will grow as a result, and it will be an exciting journey ahead for everyone in the space. With the vaccines coming, I hope we can all go back to somewhat normal life soon, and when you are back in the gym, RepCount will be there to help you maximize your sessions 😉 I am excited for 2021 and beyond!

Your website?

https://www.repcountapp.com/en/

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