Entrepreneur and former Facebook director of market development, Randi Zuckerberg, once tweeted, “The entrepreneur’s dilemma: Maintaining friendships. Building a great company. Spending time w/family. Staying fit. Getting sleep. Pick 3.” The tweet resonated with a lot of people, especially female entrepreneurs.
When it comes to building a successful career, living a balanced lifestyle can be difficult. It’s something 28-year-old Laura Davidson noticed in her own life working at a fast-paced venture capital firm run by Kevin O’Leary. Davidson decided to take matters into her own hands by creating WHISTLE App, helping bridge the imbalances many career-focused folks face. By connecting likeminded individuals as work out buddies (think of it as Tinder, but for fitness friends), WHISTLE helps to create new relationships and maintain fitness goals.
We had the opportunity to chat with Davidson about what is was like making a leap into the tech world, the key to building a good team, and what we can expect from the city’s friendliest fitness app, WHISTLE.
First off, tell us a little bit about WHISTLE App and what inspired you to start it?
WHISTLE is a social fitness app that connects people looking for a workout partner. Think Tinder, but for the purpose of finding a workout buddy. The idea for WHISTLE came from my own personal struggle of trying to stick to a regimented workout routine. I wanted to make a change in my health and fitness and as most people know, that’s easier said than done. I needed someone to hold me to my workout and fitness goals. After a few failed attempts with family and friends, I downloaded Tinder to match with other women in a non-romantic sense with the hopes of finding a workout buddy, and from there the concept of WHISTLE was born!
You have a background working in Venture Capital world and you’ve got fitness nailed. What was it like moving into the tech space?
Working in tech is like learning a foreign language. Nothing sounds like it’s in English and you can easily get lost in translation when it comes to code and backend development. I have learned a lot in the past 2 years and like anything, you get better at it over time. Fortunately, I have a great team that I trust and look to for the tech side of the business.
It’s been a little over a year since you first launched, what do you think was the biggest struggle you faced launching the app?
The biggest struggle has been balancing the finances. At this time, we are an unfunded startup and I have taken on extra work to help me pay for the necessary expenses needed to get our name out there. We are a very lean start-up and have been very creative in finding ways to work with other facilities and partners, which has been great, but having capital to propel WHISTLE into the hands of consumers would make business much easier. All in all, it’s part of the startup game and has made for some great business relationships in the fitness world. I am excited to keep moving forward and building the brand of WHISTLE.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own app?
The advice I have is two fold. First, make sure you are building something that solves a problem in the world. Do your research and make sure there is a need for your idea. Secondly, find a team that has the skill sets you lack. More specifically, find a technical co-founder if you don’t write code, or a CEO that can wear many hats for the first few months/years if you do write code.
You guys have collaborated with some amazing partners and brands to host community events in the city. Do you have any coming up that our readers should know about?
We are continually working on creating new experiences for our users. Currently we are working on coordinating outdoor bootcamps with the first one happening May 7th at Christie Pits Park in Toronto. In addition to this, we are beginning to launch WHISTLE in new markets and host our first Vancouver pop-up and second Calgary popup near the end of May/start of June.
You call WHISTLE the Tinder for workout buddies – have you heard of any workout buddies falling in love after meeting on the app?
Our goal is to connect people with similar interests in health and fitness. Keeping in mind that we are not a dating app, if two single people happen to meet on our platform and hit it off, that’s great! Similar interests are a great catalyst for any friendship or relationship to further develop.
Where do you hope to see WHISTLE in the next year? The next five years?
We have some exciting additions coming to the platform in the next year. Without letting out any spoilers, I hope to see WHISTLE as the go-to app for all things health and fitness in your community. In the next five years, I hope to see WHISTLE established in many different markets, giving people all over the world the opportunity to grow and further create those community connections on their individual fitness journeys.
How can our readers keep up with you online?
I have been documenting my fitness journey on my personal blog, My Sweat Story, which goes hand in hand with my Instagram account @misslauradavidson. You can also stay in touch with WHISTLE by downloading the app. We announce new events and partnership discounts through the platform, as well as our blog blog.whistleapp.io.