Set Goals, Get Fit with Healthy Social Network: Q&A with Fitango VP of Business Development

One of the newest social networks on the block, Fitango wants to help you achieve your fitness and life goals. Working with experts, you can set action plans, mini-goals, and get motivated to reach your potential. We had the chance to sit down with Parinda Muley, VP of Business Development at Fitango, to discuss Fitango's growth, its social elements, and why creating Action Plans helps people achieve their goals.

One of the newest social networks on the block, Fitango wants to help you achieve your fitness and life goals. Working with experts, you can set action plans, mini-goals, and get motivated to reach your potential. We had the chance to sit down with Parinda Muley, VP of Business Development at Fitango, to discuss Fitango’s growth, its social elements, and why creating Action Plans helps people achieve their goals.

Can you give me a brief background of Fitango?

Fitango was founded by Dr. Dov Biran in 2009. In his everyday life, Dov is passionate about technology, fitness, music and the arts, as well as nutrition. Being an early tech adopter, Dov struggled with finding a way to manage his goals online and, more importantly, finding trusted and accredited coaches and instructors (known as “experts” in Fitango) to provide him with the proper guidance he needed.

As Dov struggled with managing his own personal goals, he realized many of his friends and family were struggling with the same issues. On the flip side, Dov started researching the self-improvement market and realized that many experts (whether individuals or businesses) don’t currently achieve positive ROI by selling their knowledge online and, therefore, do not invest in online platforms. The solution was simple – create one marketplace that gives experts and users the tools they need to achieve financial and personal success.

The company started operating in mid 2009 and launched its beta in Dec 2010. Since we launched we experienced steady growth and have now several thousand registered users. We are located in NYC, and have 10 full-time employees.

Can you describe the social elements that people will experience on Fitango?

The social element is an inherent part of Fitango’s core offering. We have done a lot of research on what drives people to actually achieve their goals – one factor, specifically, was having community support. As a result, we embedded many social features into the system to ensure successful completion of Actionplans, and ultimately, goals.

First, each registered user can assign a “Motivator” for their Actionplan. Typically, a Motivator is a close friend, family member, or an expert that has full visibility into your daily accomplishments. The Motivator can send you comments or feedback on your Actionplan Board and can also give you a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” to either encourage you (or peer pressure you) to get things done!

Second, every registered user that downloads a certain Actionplan can opt to be part of what we call the “Bubble” – now each person that is working on the same Actionplan can share their thoughts and questions on the Bubble discussion forum – this is often the community support that individuals need to help them stay on track.

Third, each registered user has the opportunity to “Brag” and share their success stories or recent achievements with their Facebook friends. For example, if I achieve my first milestone of losing 2 pounds in the Shred Your Core in 4-Minutes a Day Actionplan, then I can share “Parinda just lost 2 pounds with Rachel’s Shred Your Core in 4-Minutes a Day Actionplan.” This element is beneficial in two ways: (i) bragging about accomplishments is viewed as reward and keeps people on track and (ii) our experts continue to increase their brand value by being able to leverage the already strong network that Facebook offers.

Fourth, you can ‘share’ and ‘gift’ Actionplans to others that are not Fitango users

What types of experts do you tap for your Action Plans? How does your Planstore work?

Fitango currently utilizes a two-pronged approach to acquiring partners. The first approach is fairly ‘grassroots’ which involves seeking individual experts in the fitness, nutrition, health, parenting, and education space. While our long-term goal is to provide expert Actionplans in all lifestyle categories, we wanted to start in select areas to provide diversity and depth of content. In acquiring these experts, we initially started with our warm contacts and have since reached out to large niche networks to acquire experts. Each expert is thoroughly vetted by our Content Team before being approved to serve as an expert on our site.

Our second approach is seeking corporate partnerships that can provide both content and traffic. We are focusing on opportunities within the same lifestyle space as individual expert. We are in the process of beginning three pilots with companies in the education and parenting arena.

What are some of the most popular Action Plans that people want to achieve through Fitango?

The most common Actionplans that people seem to favor are fitness, nutrition, and careers. Specifically, Six Months to Healthy Weight Loss, Shred Your Core in 4-Minutes a Day, 13.1 Weeks to 13.1 Miles, 17 Days to Full Detox, and 10 Steps to Accomplishing More At Work have been among the favorites. In terms of demographics, it’s a bit early to analyze the data, however, we can share much to our surprise that the majority of users are men.

Is there anything else you would like to share about Fitango?

Since our official launch, we have been growing at an exponential rate, which neither we nor our servers expected! We are excited about the progress we have made thus far and have several new releases planned in the upcoming weeks. Our company’s goals are two-fold: first, to be a strong revenue-generating operation and second, to give people the tools and resources they need to connect to healthier and happier lives. We have a very energetic and passionate team in New York that has put their heart and soul into this company. Expect to see big things from us in the months ahead to make Fitango the next revolutionizing company.