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So all you fitness aficionados in Bahrain and the broader region, does the brand name GymClass ring a bell? It probably does, given that GymClass is the first-of-its-kind multi-pass fitness application in the Kingdom, and surely one of the firsts in the broader region. 

Meanwhile, for those out of the loop, the app allows users access to hundreds of different fitness classes and gyms under one single membership. 

StartUp Bahrain recently got in touch with GymClass Co-Founders Omar AlZayani & Abdulla Buhendi for a quick chat on how things are panning out for GymClass, their growth strategy, the company’s experience with Flat6Labs Bahrain, and of course, the state of the Bahraini startup ecosystem.

Here’s a rundown of what we could gather from the lovely chat:

The brains behind GymClass

GymClass was co-founded by Abdulla Buhendi and Omar AlZayani, both seasoned entrepreneurs with an abundance of experience in multiple disciplines. 

Abdulla, for example, has quite an extensive background in digital marketing and e-commerce. Using these skills, he has over the years established several successful passive income-generating businesses.

Omar, meanwhile, has rich experience in corporate deals, business development, and relationship management. He has played a vital role in forging important strategic partnerships with the majority of the fitness center and class-based studio market in Bahrain.

Growth roadmap

GymClass is currently focusing on developing a user-base of 1,000 members before expanding into other GCC markets. The end objective is to be a positively disruptive force helping people to break out of their boring fitness regimes and better utilize their passion and dedication for physical fitness.

With already a strong presence in Bahrain, the company is currently planning on rolling out its app in Kuwait early next quarter. 

The lack of any real competition in Bahrain is one factor that is likely to make it easier for GymClass to spread out globally while maintaining a dominant position on its home turf. Speaking of regional competition, Abdulla noted:

“In Bahrain, we currently do not have any direct competitors. We do have competitors in other countries in the GCC including UAE, such as ClassPass. We think what makes us stand out the most is our understanding of the local Arab market, and how we can better cater our product to fit in the lives of the locals, through convenience and a community feel.”

Experience With Flat6Labs Bahrain

Just in case you didn’t know, GymClass is currently part of Flat6Labs Bahrain cycle, one of the region’s top startup accelerator programs and is anticipated to graduate next month. Explaining the decision to apply for and join the program, Omar said that the primary objective was to have GymClass professionally structured into the VC world.

Acknowledging that the program has contributed immensely to the startup’s success so far, he added: “Flat6Labs have helped us in many ways, including opening the doors for great corporate deals that help take our business forward.”

Omar also appreciated Tamkeen’s contribution — especially the subsidy support which, he says, made it possible for GymClass to “hire great fresh Bahraini talent and people who are ready to prove their skills in the region’s workplace.”

Bahraini startup ecosystem and advice for aspiring entrepreneurs

According to Abdulla, the Bahraini startup ecosystem has matured tremendously over the past few years. It is now more like a closely-knit family with a strong support system.

“Most of the founders are welcoming and go out of their way to help us,” he noted.

On a personal note, the GymClass co-founders pointed out that the startup didn’t face any major hurdle while kicking off operations in the Kingdom. The only major barrier they faced was while finding a payment gateway that supports recurring subscriptions for merchants based in Bahrain.

We also asked Abdulla if he had any advice or tips to share with the startup ecosystem in Bahrain. He replied the following:

“Just go ahead and start! It’s easier than ever to start a business in today’s world. You don’t need a big investment to prove your concept, all you need is a couple of diners to register and build your website! Start fast, and be very open to pivoting. We believe that most startups are on a journey of finding the right product-market fit, most entrepreneurs start with an idea and keep tweaking/changing it until it finds its true fit. Therefore, having an open mind about pivoting your business is crucial.”

If you haven’t checked out GymClass yet, head over to their official portal to get a gist of what the platform has to offer. And just in case you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to StartUp Bahrain using one of our social media channels over at Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn,