In yet another case of nerdy high school math experts proving indispensable to the jocks later in life, consider this from Harry Zettel, VP of business development for Healthpro.com:
“A lot of physically fit people go into the personal training business, or even beyond, opening their own gyms, yoga studios, and the like, but many of them have no training in how to administer a business – and thus find themselves losing money, unable to collect fees or keep their businesses solvent.”
That’s where Healthpro comes in – providing a payment platform specifically geared to independent fitness and alternative health entrepreneurs, of which, he said, there are over a million of in the US alone.
Designed specifically for personal trainers, acupuncturists, dance instructors, karate trainers – anyone who gives individual lessons or group classes in a studio or local community center – HealthPro enables the outsourcing of all payment, billing, and administration work that these entrepreneurs “just don’t have the time, inclination, and often the skill for,” said Zettel.
“The HealthPro system powers the administrative and marketing functions of alternative health and wellness practices, including booking and scheduling appointments, collecting payments, communicating with existing patients, and attracting new clients,” he said.
There’s also a big advantage for clients – the ability to book appointments through the app, rate trainers, and provide Yelp-style reviews for the professionals they work with.
“We aim to empower a knowledgeable and growing community of health and wellness consumers to find and schedule appointments for local yoga, acupuncture, Zumba, nutrition, chiropractic, physical training, massage services, etc., and refer friends or write provider reviews,” said Zettel.
While there are software packages that cover these functions, they are cumbersome and require a lot of set-up on the part of the professional, he added. HealthPro is the only one geared to the health community that takes care of all their concerns, with no work required on their part.
HealthPro, Zettel says, is “very fairly priced and has proven very attractive to professionals. We just emerged from beta a few weeks ago and already we have begun working with several well-known and large groups, including a yoga school with 2,000 graduates and a school in California that teaches TCM (traditional Chinese Medicine). We are also at early stage discussions with an organization that has over 100,000 aerobics instructors nationwide.”
So far, HealthPro has raised $1.4 million, and is set to close a second round of $1.5 million in the coming months. HealthPRO’s seed funding was invested by Sammy Capuano, founder of Green Smoke, who took his start up from zero to over $40 million in sales and sold the company for $130 million, and Daniel Treisman, founder of Inquistr.com and Guru Media.
HealthPro arose as a result of personal experience – that of Zettel’s wife Suzi, a Beit Shemesh-based yoga instructor. “Suzi like many professionals is great at what she does, but found the business side difficult to administer. About two years ago she went to a local women’s professional health and wellness networking fair, where she met a lot of people who talked about how great it was to be self-employed and how wonderful it was to run your own business.
“Suzi looked at the other ladies and said that they were crazy, as being self employed is very difficult,” said Zettel. “You have to promote yourself, people make appointments and don’t show up, people make appointments and cancel and sometimes don’t tell you that they canceled the appointment. People come to sessions and don’t bring their money and she felt uncomfortable chasing clients for money, etc.”
After that, the other participants in the event came to realize they were not as successful as they thought they were, said Zettel. After a little thought, Suzi and her husband realized that the world had enough yoga teachers, but that what it really needed was someone to help those teachers, and others like them, to run their business in a way that could help them actually make money.
“The response to this in the industry has been very positive,” said Zettel. “Everyone tells us that this idea was a long time coming.”