How Exelerate helped Burn & Earn iterate and improve a niche online fitness app at hyperspeed
C.J. has over 15 years of experience in the fitness industry starting as a college athlete all the way up to owning and managing multiple gyms in the Bay Area. During the peak of the Covid Pandemic, he decided to launch Burn & Earn as an online fitness app that helps people 40 years and older workout together in live classes.
Burn & Earn provides specialized coaching programs for people at an older age and implements a gamification element which allows the users to earn tokens while working out which in turn they can use to claim various rewards through the platform.
These are not just a group of guys that can pump out code, they really know business and provide you with the expertise you need to take your startup to the next level, as a non-technical founder this was key.
When we were first approached by C.J. he was previously burnt (pun intended) by the last agency he worked with, so he was understandably careful when it came to choosing who he would work with next.
The previous agency had boxed his app into using their own CMS platform specialised in gamification and on top of that they had decided to neither build a full Web App, nor a Native mobile experience. Instead they had convinced CJ that they should be building a PWA in 2022 as a primary user interface - ridiculous.
Outside of that the designs were amateurish and were poorly translated into code resulting in clunky implementations and a lot of reoccurring bugs.
However with all of that being said, C.J. managed to grow his subpar app while being bootstrapped to 300 paying subscribers within a year which convinced us that the underlying service that he and his team were providing was very valuable and that he had carved out a very nice niche where he had found product-market fit.
This convinced us to come on board and help take Burn & Earn to the next level.
The first step was to do code forensics and analyse the state of the product. Then we had an in-depth discussion with C.J. about Burn & Earn’s current state and the business goals for next year, and five years out.
Because the product was shoehorned into using the previous agency’s gamification CMS product, we decided to proceed with a service-orientated architecture and build around the CMS as it did provide value even though it was limited and replacing it at that point would mean a lot of development capital being allocated without any extra value provided to the users.
As such, we decided to create a separate database for the product accompanied with a light-weight admin dashboard to host all of the custom necessary features that were not available on the existing CMS. In parallel we addressed all of the existing reported bugs and took over ownership of the code repositories from the previous agency.
With all of that in place we felt like we had a good base to start actually working on new user features for the product. We setup an agile team of two which worked within the limited budget of a bootstrapped company, we had a Product Manager and a Senior Engineer driving the development of new features.
The Product Manager setup Exelerate’s Product Development Framework, which positions the users of the product at the centre of the product iteration process. Over dozen interviews were conducted based on which a backlog of the highest value features was defined, designed and developed.
We took Burn & Earn from a buggy application without any clear product development roadmap to an application with strong foundation and a clear product vision.
With our framework in place we are able to iterate and improve the application at neck-breaking speeds. Exelerate’s team is completely aligned with C.J.’s team back in SF and with our joint forces we believe the sky is the limit.