We chat with ClassPass co-founder & CEO, Payal Kadakia

Given the near ubiquity of its memberships, it’s almost hard to believe that ClassPass, the multi-access pass that is revolutionising the way people access and discover fitness, was founded just four years ago. And the woman at the helm? Co-founder and CEO Payal Kadakia.

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Payal has been a ‘dancetrepreneur’ since the age of 3 when she started training in Indian classical and folk styles of dance. It was her passion for dance, entrepreneurship, and making the world a more active, happy place that led to the founding of Classpass.

We had the pleasure of chatting with her to get the inside scoop on her food and fitness philosophy, upcoming wedding and the future of ClassPass.

Meet successful entrepreneur Payal Kadakia

Tell me a bit about your business, how did you come up with the idea of ClassPass?

ClassPass is a monthly subscription service providing access to the world’s largest network of boutique fitness studios and gyms. I was sitting at my desk one day looking to try a new Ballet class in NYC and after about an hour of searching and clicking away at numerous websites, I ended up not finding a class to attend. In that moment, I realized the pain that most people must face in finding classes to take and stay connected to their hobbies and passions. It’s about getting out there and experiencing things again, finding time for your passions even if you aren’t performing them professionally. At ClassPass, we’ve iterated on the product a few times to ensure that we really do help alleviate the friction in going to class!

ClassPassHow is ClassPass different to other multi-access fitness membership? What makes it unique?

The variety and personalization – we just went national in Australia launching in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, which means we are now in almost 40 markets worldwide. Our members love the flexibility of being able to use ClassPass when they travel. And we’re constantly investing in ways to continue to make the experience more personalized for our members.

What were you doing before Classpass?

Working at Warner Music and starting my dance company.company.

Between Classpass and The Sa Dance Company, how do you achieve a healthy work/life balance?

I make it a priority and I put everything – even time to relax – into my calendar.

As a businesswoman, what are your top three tips for someone starting out?

Be true to yourself, surround yourself by supportive people, and don’t be afraid to fail! Often times success is on the other side of failure.

What fitness trends do you foresee for 2016?

We notice that on average people try at least 15 different classes on our platform, so we think variety will continue to be a trend as people mix up their routines by incorporating many different types of workouts. In Australia specifically we’ve also seen that outdoor classes are increasingly popular.

What is your own food and fitness philosophy?

Everything is about balance. I love being active and taking care of myself, but I also think it’s ok to indulge.

What does a typical work day look like?

Usually I’ll go for a run first thing in the morning and then head into the office. Once here I spend most of my times in meetings with my team but will often times find time to slip away for a class midday or after work. I’m also still very active with my dance company and depending on what types of performances we have coming up, I’ll have rehearsals.

If we were to take a look inside your beauty bag, what would we find?

Face wipes, vaseline and eyeliner!

Do you have a daily mantra?

Surround yourself by only people who lift you higher

Congratulations on your engagement! How are you preparing for the big day?

I’m actually headed to India to introduce my fiance to my extended family and to do some wedding shopping! My Indian culture is core to who I am.

Officially #engaged (in the indian way) to @nickpujji! More photos to come!

A photo posted by Payal Kadakia (@payal222) on

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Business wise, I’m really invested in how to both improve and expand the ClassPass experience for our members and studio partners. We are currently exploring ways to had even more types of experiences for our users that expand beyond the world of fitness. Personally, I always want to keep sharing my Indian culture with the western world and there are other ways for me to do that and I want to continue to be involved that movement.

Quick Questions:

First thing I did when I woke up this morning:

Went for a run

Most people probably don’t know this about me, but:

I’m only 4’11

Workout I’m currently obsessed with:

Pop Physique

The one place I’d never wear yoga pants:

A wedding

I never make a smoothie without adding:

Peanut Butter

If sugar were a superfood, my diet would consist of:

Butterscotch candies and Sour Patch Kids

I never leave home without:

Leggings

My New Year resolution is:

To dance more and focus more on stretching post workout

My favourite emoji is:

Smiley Face