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CEO Corner: Eric Posner, Co-Founder & CEO of Swerve, on Expansion Plans

CEO Corner: Eric Posner, Co-Founder & CEO of Swerve, on Expansion Plans

Eric Posner smiling
Swerve Fitness is a unique virtual and live cycling experience that is expanding rapidly. Athletech spoke with Eric Posner about his experience founding and growing Swerve.

Swerve Fitness’s premium cycling experience combines virtual and live cycling, using beats and power to pull one’s body into a rhythm for the ultimate workout. Swerve launched at YouFit in Tallahassee in November and in December they launched in Genesis gyms in Kansas City. Swerve classes can also be found at Crunch, NYSC and XSport in markets like New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Burbank. Swerve was named as one of NYC’s tech communities to watch this year by Built In. Athletech News (ATN) spoke with Eric Posner, Swerve’s CEO and Co-Founder, about the brand.

ATN: What inspired the beginning of your journey with Swerve?

Eric Posner standing, smiling
Swerve co-founder and CEO Eric Posner

Eric Posner: We launched Swerve 1.0 back in 2013 as a brick & mortar indoor cycling studio (with 4 locations across New York City and the Hamptons). Our concept always leveraged the power of teamwork and technology – and our vision has always been about incorporating the positive attributes of team sports into a fitness experience. But, brick and mortar always had its limitations to scaling and our ability to impact more humans outside of New York.

Prior to the pandemic, there was a boom of boutique fitness which created competitive tension with big box gyms. As experts in boutique fitness, we always knew there was an opportunity to elevate the group fitness experience within big box gyms, a model that has multiple elements to it, but it wasn’t until the pandemic that we developed our new, current concept.

To fill the whitespace and build a meaningful partnership between boutique fitness and big-box gyms, we pivoted Swerve into a significantly more scalable model creating a B2B Content & SaaS solution for gyms. We’ve created an experience that meets the needs of today’s evolved consumer with inclusivity & community top of mind while offering tools and technology for gym operators, with the sole focus on helping gyms drive memberships & retention.

ATN: What is Swerve’s differentiating point, and why do you think it will be successful through the current fluctuations of in-person and virtual workouts competing for market share?

Eric Posner: Swerve is innovating the future of group exercise by infusing live streamed content, connected fitness technology with two-way communication, and gamifying the experience through a team-based format that appeals to a broad audience of all fitness levels.

More specifically, Swerve’s world-class trainers are filmed at our NYC HQ and LIVE streamed onto large video walls inside of existing cycling studios (within big box gyms), creating an immersive, theater-like experience. We are equipment agnostic, so our tech seamlessly connects with existing bikes at our partner gyms. The bike data is pulled in real-time to gamify the experience whereby each studio is its own team competing against all of the other locations.

Consumers are changing the way they think about fitness post pandemic. While they’ve learned to adopt digitally led programming from elite trainers and technology enhancements, people are still craving connection and community which we’ve seen by their return to gyms. Being able to bridge the gap between both, Swerve offers big box gyms an elevated experience to members at no additional cost.

For gyms specifically, the impact of partnership has been strong. It’s a known stat that gym members who participate in group fitness have higher lifetime value than those who don’t. Now that gyms are facing even more competition there is increased emphasis on delivering a top-notch group exercise experience, multiple times a day. Within our partner gyms, Swerve is accounting for upwards of 40%-50% of group exercise bookings (this includes all other modalities & classes offered) and seeing a month-over-month retention rate in the high 80% range.

ATN: Why is the YouFit partnership a big step for Swerve, and how does it fit in with the company’s larger growth strategy in the next few years?

Eric Posner: We are thrilled with our expansion into YouFit gyms marking Swerve’s first Southeast location, in Florida’s capital, Tallahassee, neighboring Florida State and Florida A&M universities. Adding another strong gym partner to our roster, in a new region for Swerve, broadens our national reach even further. YouFit Gyms are strong operators with over 80 gyms across 10 states and growing. We are confident that together, we can grow to reach more and more riders.

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ATN: What is Swerve’s mission?

Eric Posner: In a world of leaderboards and individualized competition, Swerve’s team-based approach motivates riders via competition while also building community within the room. Ultimately, we seek to leverage technology and teamwork to bring more people together through fitness. 

The value proposition for gym’s is compelling – to partner with Swerve requires a nominal investment in hardware (for TV, receivers, etc.) since we can tap into their existing bikes, and the ROI is proving to be immediate. The opportunity is massive given there are over 110,000 gyms in the USA, and just about double that worldwide. And cycling is just the beginning, so as we offer additional modalities, our addressable market essentially doubles (with the ability to power other rooms within our gym partners). Plus, given the nature of our live streamed experience, state-lines or oceans are not a barrier.

We’re excited to be a first-mover in this realm, partnering with gyms vs. competing with them to reach a much broader audience. By capturing a small fraction of the addressable market, Swerve can easily scale to a billion-dollar company within the next 5 years, if not sooner.

ATN: What is your long-term vision for Swerve?

Eric Posner: We’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg with our product and experience, which is why we’re so thrilled about our early performance. In the coming months you can expect to see considerable growth within our existing gym partners and with new gym partners coming online. We will also be rolling out experience enhancements through more personalization and community-building technology, with further inspiration coming from the world of e-sports. As we continue to scale our product across the US and globally, we’ll be raising capital to propel our growth. For those interested in connecting, do not hesitate to reach out.

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