Andrea Baba, FitCo: Digitizing Fitness Centers in Latin America, Ep 125

Andrea’s first experience as an entrepreneur was starting her own Zumba studio when she was 18 years old. Within a year of operating, she started to expand her business, hiring more instructors and gaining more clients. However, Andrea saw that managing her business solely on Excel spreadsheets and notebooks was limiting her company’s growth. 

In true entrepreneurial spirit, Andrea decided to find a solution to her own problem. Together with her co-founder Alex, they set out to build a tool that would help fitness centers in Latin America to scale their businesses. And Fitco was born. 

I sat down with Andrea to talk about how she combined her passion for fitness and her background in finance to start Fitco in Peru’s budding startup ecosystem. We also discuss their experience at Techstars’ Boulder Accelerator as the first LatAm startup to be accepted into the program and how Fitco has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Becoming Fitco’s first client

Managing a Zumba studio meant that Andrea was doing everything from teaching classes to answering Whatsapp messages from clients to managing the payroll. To take the next step in her business, she needed a tool that would help her scale her business in an efficient way. After several mockups, Andrea put her product to the test and her Zumba studio became Fitco’s first paying customer. 

Listen to this episode of Crossing Borders to learn about how Andrea built Fitco and found a niche in Latin America’s fitness studios.

Catalysts of change in Peru’s startup ecosystem

Peru’s startup ecosystem has transformed significantly over the past couple of years. Andrea recalls the early days of her startup and the struggles she faced in finding people to hire for Fitco. Today, she is proud of how far the ecosystem has come. She considers that government led initiatives have played a huge role in giving Peruvian startups the recognition and support needed to grow and attract investors to the ecosystem.

Find out more about how Peru’s startup ecosystem has transformed in this episode of Crossing Borders.

First Latin American startup to participate in Techstars Boulder Accelerator program

Andrea explains what it was like to be physically on the same block as Brad Feld and David Brown as the first LatAm startup to receive investment from Techstars Boulder program. There, they learned about how to continue scaling Fitco and build a great business from the experience of other founders and mentors in the US. One of their greatest takeaways was Techstars’ people driven approach. Andrea and her co-founder were inspired to bring that philosophy to their team, and focus on people first, which in turn will lead to a better business. 

Learn more about Andrea’s lessons learned from her experience at Techstars Boulder program in this episode of Crossing Borders.

Andrea Baba is helping the fitness industry transform its services to meet the demands and consuming habits of today’s customers. Fitco enables fitness center owners to digitize their businesses to better connect with their communities online.

Outline of this episode:

  • [1:50] – About Fitco
  • [2:37] – The entrepreneurial mindset
  • [4:20] – Solving her own problem
  • [5:51] – Focusing on a tech tool
  • [7:09] –  Catalysts of change in the Peruvian ecosystem
  • [11:10] – Techstars Boulder Accelerator
  • [16:05] – Advice for going through an accelerator
  • [19:26] – Responding to the lockdown
  • [22:55] – Being a female founder in Latam vs. the US
  • [25:56] – Books, blogs, & podcast recommendations
  • [27:08] – Advice to Andrea’s younger self
  • [28:42] – What’s next for Fitco?

Resources & people mentioned:

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