Jiangyang Zhang (left) and Jimmy Liu (right) present GymFlow at the 2013 Launch Conference in San Francisco
Jimmy Liu, a business administration major, and Jiangyang Zhang, a Ph.D. student studying electrical engineering, joined forces last winter to create a new iPhone app that measures the traffic of USC’s Lyon Center so Trojans can avoid the crowds and save time.
Developed in November 2012, GymFlow began as a relatively simple class project for the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s “Building the High Tech Startup” course. Although there appears to be an app for nearly everything, Liu and Zhang discovered a niche. Before GymFlow, there was no well-known application that tracked the number of people inside a popular venue, such as a restaurant or gym, in real-time.
Liu and Zhang soon got to work. After hiring Jordan Harmon, a senior majoring in fine arts and graphic design, the team launched GymFlow on February 4th, 2013. Since its release, over 1,300 USC students downloaded the free app to help maximize their workout experience. GymFlow also helps Lyon Center staff be better prepared to accommodate large crowds of students.
For commercial gyms, once integrated into the system, GymFlow can help boost membership retention. In fitness clubs nationwide, approximately 35-40% of customers cancel their membership every year. This spurs a $9 billion loss in revenue. However, GymFlow can help keep members active and informed.
During the startup process, Liu and Zhang learned several valuable lessons that positively impacted their experience in the tech industry, as well as their experience with expansion and brand development. For example, the team learned how important it is to make the application easy to download, readily accessible, and user-friendly. Nevertheless, the team admits none of this would have been possible without the support of the Trojan Family.
“Because of my connections here, I’m only one degree away from a number of gym networks and executives that can help grow GymFlow,” Liu said.
Liu, Zhang and Harmon attended Launch Conference, the premier conference for startup companies, earlier this month to introduce GymFlow to various fitness centers in San Francisco. The team’s ultimate goal is to market GymFlow to gyms all across California.