Shari Castelli, the Director for Mindbody Capital, tells Athletech News what differentiates the company’s newest offering from competitors, her long-term vision for her company, and how the company plans to leverage its data and technology
Athletech News (ATN): What differentiates Mindbody Capital from competitive offerings?
Shari Castelli: Traditional loan applications are a great option for those who qualify – but the process can be lengthy, and lenders often require strong personal credit and/or a personal guarantee in exchange for financing. Additionally, the application process for online advances requires significant documentation and little wiggle room on the terms.
Mindbody Capital differs from other financing options due to its speed, seamlessness, and flexibility. Customers who qualify can accept offers from Mindbody Capital in just a few seconds – and they will receive their funds within 2 business days of acceptance. There is a simple, one-time fee, and repayment is done automatically by withholding a flat percentage of daily sales. This means that owners pay more when their sales are strong, less when sales decrease, and nothing when the business is closed. This level of flexibility is especially valuable when operating in an industry that is both heavily seasonal and quickly evolving!
ATN: How will Mindbody Capital fit into the post-pandemic health and wellness industry growth trends?
Shari Castelli: Customers can use Mindbody Capital funds to invest in their business however they see fit. Because of this, participating customers say that Mindbody Capital has helped them not only maintain their businesses as we exit the pandemic – but also invest in the resources needed to rebound and grow post-pandemic.
Many owners are reporting that they’re investing funds from Mindbody Capital into staff and hiring. This is no surprise: we have heard from numerous owners that it has been difficult to retain and rebuild their staff post-pandemic – from instructors to managers and more. Other popular uses for the funds include fueling new marketing campaigns to win back former clients and acquire new ones. Our customers are also investing heavily in new equipment to ensure that they provide a top-tier experience that simply cannot be replicated at home!
We expect to see these trends evolve over time, which is why this program is so beneficial: it provides the funds needed to meet the basic needs of a business (like working capital) while also enabling them to keep up with new trends. Owners’ ability to make empowered, real-time decisions will be essential as demand rebounds and new growth opportunities emerge.
ATN: Do you see long-term synergies between Mindbody Capital and the larger Mindbody-ClassPass ecosystem? If so, how?
Shari Castelli: Mindbody customers appreciate that the offer amounts they can access through our Capital program are based on their business performance. If a business works with both Mindbody and ClassPass, any offer that they qualify for will be based on both their ClassPass revenue and Mindbody sales – unlocking a larger opportunity for those businesses. Beyond that, Mindbody and ClassPass will look to leverage their combined resources – including the most comprehensive fitness and wellness demand database in the world – to help business owners identify growth opportunities in our industry. Capital is one of many areas where Mindbody and ClassPass together can add more value to our shared clients than either could offer alone.
ATN: Will Mindbody Capital use the larger company’s data and technology to grow the offering?
Shari Castelli: One of the reasons that the Mindbody Capital experience is so seamless for our customers is because we are leveraging our data and technology to generate and update offers in real time based on each business’s performance. That said, the current iteration of Mindbody Capital is just the beginning: our goal is to build out a suite of products that offer our customers even more optionality in order to make the best financial decision for their business – based on their unique needs, challenges, and goals. We know that these things are ever-changing, and we are excited to combine customer feedback with our data, technology and other resources to support them as they evolve.
ATN: How will you define success for Mindbody Capital?
Shari Castelli: The goal of Mindbody Capital is to increase our customers’ access to funding, which will enable them to more easily run and grow their businesses – and help to reignite the industry overall. That said, to do this we must first recognize the existing inequality in who has access to the capital required to open and maintain businesses today. This is one of many reasons why offers received through Mindbody Capital are based solely on business performance (not personal credit history or a personal guarantee), which can help eliminate some of the bias inherent in traditional financing options. Over time, we will continue to focus on increasing access to capital as a means to reimagine the fitness and wellness industry – both from the perspectives of the business owners and the communities that they serve.