As I write this, I’m looking down at my tummy and thinking I should really go to the gym soon. It’s just so hard to find the motivation. When Joshua Uwadiae had this same lack of drive, he didn’t simply shrug – he launched a startup to solve the problem.
WeGym is an Android and iOS app designed to help you find the perfect gym buddy – someone to help motivate you to work out or pump iron. Other startups have tried this in the past and not managed to catch on, but WeGym plans to partner with gyms. This means gyms can promote the app in the knowledge that it will lead to more people coming through their doors more often.
Originally from London, WeGym cofounders Uwadiae and Jack Woodward have just completed the Manchester run of the Ignite accelerator. They’ve launched WeGym in that city before they roll it out more widely in future.
Not your typical founder
Uwadiae doesn’t have the most typical of entrepreneur origin stories, but it’s an inspiring one. He says that as a teenage London gang member, he struggled academically. He turned his life around thanks to an IT apprenticeship scheme, during which he worked at Microsoft. Meanwhile, Woodward was an apprentice with Google and the pair met while speaking about their experiences at a skills event.
Uwadiae had got into fitness, regularly attending a gym with a co-worker. However, when that colleague left Microsoft, Uwadiae found it increasingly difficult to get motivated to exercise. ‘Scratching his own itch’ (in entrepreneurial terms), he convinced Woodward to leave Google and they got to work on WeGym.
As part of the Ignite programme, Uwadiae traveled to the USA. The trip included a visit to the Boston offices of Runkeeper, the popular fitness app recently acquired by sports brand Asics. He says the biggest lesson he learned there was about the importance of having a distinct identity in the market.