Taking content creators from minimum wage to six figures

July 5, 2023

Revolutionising the fitness industry

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Taking content creators from minimum wage to six figures

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In this episode of the Tech Story Podcast, we interview Peter Monteza, founder of MyArc, a platform that allows fitness creators to train their fans at scale. Peter shares how MyArc solves the problem of limited earning potential for creators by enabling them to train thousands of people at once. He also dives into his personal journey from childhood obesity to becoming a national-level athlete, which inspired him to create a platform that makes personalised fitness training more accessible and affordable. Tune in to hear how MyArc is revolutionising the fitness industry.

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The key moments in this episode are:

00:01:09 From obesity to national athlete.

00:05:10 Group chat anxiety.

00:08:21 Seeing creators flourish financially.

00:09:35  Building for depth, not breadth.

00:13:00 Wearables and fitness metrics.

00:16:13 Having documents in one place.

00:19:22 Team dynamics and success.

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Read the transcript

00:00 Charles Brecque Welcome to the Tech Story Podcast, a place where we interview founders and interesting people in tech, growing successful businesses. Today I'm very excited to welcome Peter Monteza on the show. Peter is the founder of MyArc, a company which allows creators to train their fans at scale. Peter, thank you for taking the time to be on the show. Would you like to share a bit of background about yourself and your company?

00:26 Peter Monteza Yeah, for sure. Thank you very much for having me. Yeah, MyArc is essentially a platform that enables fitness creators to train their fans at scale. So, what we can do is that we can make generic workout plans customised to their fans' needs without any creator input. So it enables them to train thousands of people at once. Because right now what they do is that they'll sell PDF, Excel sheets, they'll try and use PT software without breaks at about 30, 50 clients. So it really caps their earning potential and doesn't let them monetise, which is why

00:57 Charles Brecque you see creators making less than $100 a month on platforms like Patreon. And I guess, what got you into fitness and this app? I mean, are you a trainer yourself?

01:08 Peter Monteza What's the story? Yeah, so my story kind of goes back since when I was a kid. So I used to be obese as a kid. I suffered a lot with my physical and mental health from childhood obesity. And I went from obese to a national level athlete in the space of two years in cross country athletics, which is a very crazy rollercoaster in itself. But I found that fitness was like super expensive, generic. It was hard to get personalised training for myself. And I think that's the root of a lot of people's problems with fitness is that it's expensive to get something that works for you. Because fitness is in a generic one size fits all type model. It really needs to be custom for you to get results. So it's always been my passion. I've always wanted to be in the space. You know, it saved my life.

01:54 Charles Brecque So I just I've always wanted to be there. I think this is a topic that I've sort of struggled with where I am in and out of it. But having a PT has been a great way for me to hold myself accountable and well, try and get shape or at least know that I'm on track or not. But I guess how does your app help people with the accountability side of things? I understand it helps to create a scale, maybe workout plans, plans or nutrition plans.

02:25 Peter Monteza But does the app also hold people accountable? Yeah. So one thing that the app does that really helps users is that it starts to kind of calibrate to their ability. So a creator can make a workout plan that will give you the rough guys, for example, like a strength plan of what rep range, which exercise and what structure to do. And then what the app can help do is show them where they start and start to progress them and add incremental weight as your trainer would do in real life. Like it maybe push you here. She could push you two and a half kilos next week, five kilos. So similar here on the app, you can do that. And one thing that really helps our users is the community element of it. So every user, when they subscribe to the creator on the app, they have a private community chat between the creator and fans. So it's fans of fan and creator to fan interaction. And in that, there's a lot of accountability and help. So there's almost like a Strava like social mechanic. And that's proven a lot has proven really helpful for engagement.

03:23 Charles Brecque Yeah, I can see how having a community sort of ensures that you know, everyone's on the same plan. I mean, what what tips would you suggest then for growing a community? Because you were telling me just before, you've got thousands of users. So how do you sort of get that engagement and grow it?

03:43 Peter Monteza Yeah. So I think we're at an advantage because we target the creator who already has like a good fan base, right? They've built a following. So we're kind of B2B2C. We acquired the creator. So distribution is kind of built in the product. But that doesn't mean that engagement of that community isn't super important. So things that really help is in the community, we have people, you know, sharing their workouts. And the reason we make it really easy for them to share their kind of personalised dashboards and stuff like that is because it enables other people to see someone like them already working out. And that kind of gives them that external motivation to go and work out. And then they enter this feedback loop, which kind of goes like this. User sees other people working out that motivates them. They go and work. They're more likely to work out. That's key action one. They then post and share their work on the community. That's dopamine hit one. They get the validation. Then they're motivated again to do it, work out again. And the loop kind of continues. And then when they get shout outs from the creator and other people and they start seeing real results, it kind of keeps them more and more engaged because accountability is probably one of the hardest things in fitness, which is why retention is pretty low in this industry.

04:53 Charles Brecque Interesting. So I guess the key takeaway is you need to, you know, make it easy for the community to share their progress or share. And then it sort of all trickles down from that.

05:05 Peter Monteza Yeah. Like a thing that we see is something called like group chat anxiety, where like people are scared to send a message. So we kind of want to just eliminate that barrier. So at the end of a workout, we have loads. They have like 20, 30 auto-generated messages they can pick from that they literally can just tap and it's shared straight to the community. And then people can engage with that. So it takes away that need to like, Oh, what do I say? And then people are replying. So then they feel now a bit more safe in the community and they're like, Oh, I can actually speak and they'll start posting. So we've seen hundreds of dashboards get posted every day. People are even making content on their own personal Instagrams and TikToks, which is pretty cool.

05:42 Charles Brecque It's really interesting. And I guess mentioned hundreds of dashboards every day. So what sort of high level figures can you share about the company and its growth today?

05:50 Peter Monteza Yeah. So the, just, uh, just on the dashboards, that's kind of like, we produce very personalized insights on people's performances, what muscle groups are working, their reps, how their weight trajectory, how they're kind of, um, lifting more and so forth and performing in terms of the company itself. Yeah. We went full time about 12 months ago when techs are invested in us. And since then we've released both the creator app, the consumer app. Uh, we've been growing over 20% for the past six months, monthly. Um, and, you know, we've taken creators from minimum wage to six figures, uh, on the platform.

06:22 Charles Brecque That's really exciting. And I guess your effects will be offering a way for creators to stop doing what they're doing and become full time creators.

06:31 Peter Monteza Yeah. So contrary to popular belief, even if you have like 400,000 followers, it, it doesn't mean you're making money. Uh, a lot of the time, you know, they struggle to monetise and they don't want to do sponsorship, you know, that people want ownership, not sponsorship because it dilutes their content. It's not value aligned. Um, so they want to kind of like give their users what they want or their followers what they want and we kind of facilitate that.

06:56 Charles Brecque And another interesting thing about your company is you're based here in London. Um, but you mentioned the majority of your users are in the U S and you've got some teammate members over there. Um, what's it like being part of a remote company? And then secondly, um, you know, why are you not in the U S?

07:14 Peter Monteza Yeah, that was a good question. I think, uh, on the first one, what's it like? I think, uh, it has its pros and its cons. Uh, the pros being that, um, you know, we can have someone in the U S to take like, uh, you know, calls of creators, uh, when it's like 3 a.m. here, that that's obviously a bonus. Um, and also to get talent from anywhere. Uh, I guess the drawbacks are not being in the same room. Like I see you guys as office here. It's pretty cool to be all together. Um, I do think we will eventually maybe have something in America. Um, it kind of really depends. Like the reason we see most of our users in America is because it kind of depends on the creator's audience profile and the demographics of where their audience is based and it just happens to be that the ones that we did our kind of cohort with, um, they have most of their TikTok or Instagram audience in America. Um, so yeah.

08:03 Charles Brecque So there's a potential that you might go to the U S but no.

08:07 Peter Monteza Yeah. Don't know. Yeah. I think, um, we'll just have to see. We need more data.

08:13 Charles Brecque Yeah. Interesting. Great. And since starting the company or full time, at least, um, 12 months ago, what what's been your favorite moment so far?

08:21 Peter Monteza Oh, um, I guess, yeah, I mean, Texas was definitely a nice moment because everybody, uh, you know, quit their jobs. My two other co-founders are her nickel. Um, which was nice because I didn't have to do it by myself and it's just a different feeling with them, but I would honestly say, um, seeing like our first creator hit like six figures on the platform was pretty impactful cause you know, she was living in a council flat a few months ago. She's a single mother. I grew up in a single mother household. I know how difficult it is. And when we, you know, when she got that much revenue sent straight to her, like I would just know as a kid how, how that would change the dynamic of that family life. Um, and just seeing her flourish and also changing the lives of her community. We've seen some crazy before and afters, people dropping 80 pounds, you know, feeling confident in their fitness, um, no gym anxiety. So I think that's a pretty good moment.

09:15 Charles Brecque Yeah. I mean, I wish my favourite moments at legislature were as impactful as that, but, um, congrats. And what do you wish you'd known before starting myARC?

09:25 Peter Monteza A lot of things actually quite a lot of things. Um, I would say not to kind of focus on trying to do everything at once. I think I, I think one message I'd give to myself is like, if I had to go back in time, it would be like build for depth, not with, sorry, I built depth, not with try and like double down on what the USP is. Um, one mistake that I remember we made earlier, cause we were getting a few inbounds from creators that had big followings from different parts of the world, like Mexico, Brazil, and we were like really excited, like, yeah, let's take them. Let's take them. But, you know, our app doesn't really support Spanish, Portuguese, French, or anything like that. And, you know, these then kind of delay the product roadmap where like you, you're not accounting for internationalisation. It's too early to do that. Um, focus on the kind of use case that you want to do and then put it forward.

10:17 Charles Brecque And I know that you said you've got to create an app and then a consumer app and then a consumer app. So how do you sort of manage that in the context of focus?

10:27 Peter Monteza Yeah. So that, that's always, I guess that's a, it's a hard thing that we have to kind of balance. So the Crater app, you can think of it as a SaaS tool for these creators to make their workout plans, have analytics as to what's selling well, which they can even align their content with. Um, it's a very powerful tool for them to build workouts and make it live on a iOS and Android app, which is the consumer app where their subscribers subscribe to for monthly fee, have access to their workout plans and it gets customized. Um, the more they train the performance data and yeah, so like we had a lot of, uh, I'd say technical debt on the Crater app that we have to kind of like just bite the bullet and stop a bit of development on the consumer app, even though that was going really well and consumers really loving it. Um, so we're just going to have to clean that up and get that because that will then impact the consumer app because we can do more complex features that we want to do, um, around auto calibration and so forth.

11:20 Charles Brecque Sounds like a challenging problem. Um, but that at least you've got the growth and demand to sort of justify that because I think as a, as a founder, when you are in the early days, um, you're tempted to build all sorts of things and focus is really important, but at least, you know, in your case, you've got the demand and it's almost like it's a, it's a nice problem to have.

11:43 Peter Monteza Yeah. I mean, it doesn't feel like that sometimes, but it's true. I think, um, it's, it's, it's good validation. I think for certain users, there's product market fit. And I always think there's like, there's like a PMF barrier for different like user profiles. And I think we've hit it for quite a few. And then there's a lot more that we can go and make the product better for.

12:03 Charles Brecque Great. And I guess in terms of, you know, these different user profiles, um, you know, what was the vision for the next three, five years?

12:11 Peter Monteza So for us, you know, we, we kind of want to be like the Spotify for fitness. Um, and where like your workouts to get customised to your preference, your ability, the equipment you have available. Um, that that's kind of, we want to go to it. We want to make it almost like a super app for fitness where it connects with wearables, which adds to more of the personalisation so that, um, users, you know, can have affordable fitness, um, that's custom to them. So we want to make it scalable for creators and affordable for users.

12:43 Charles Brecque Yeah. And it says you're wearing a whoop, um, which I'm also wearing and I've started, I've recently discovered an Android a lot, I guess. So your whoop could, for example, integrate in your app and hold you accountable or what sort of do you see?

13:00 Peter Monteza Yeah. So the good thing that wearables can do is it's kind of like, um, help close the loop, um, providing extra metrics and data for the, for the consumer app experience. So for example, um, by knowing your heart rate, when you're exercising, knowing which heart, uh, which zone your heart rate is in, um, we can start to see if that workout is a bit too hard for you. If it's too easy for you and thoughts to kind of adjust the reps in real time or adjust the time and attention, et cetera. So there's a lot of things that we can get from it. Um, calories, there's a, there's a lot of extra dates you can do that just gives a more holistic view for the end user, which again, the more personal, the more personalised it gets, the more, um, utility there is for the consumer.

13:39 Charles Brecque Really interesting. And I guess, um, you know, as a busy founder, CEO, uh, with a team in multiple locations, um, I imagine you must come across contracts and legal documents, um, you know, what are the key ones and what sort of, you know, takes can you share for, for the audience?

13:57 Peter Monteza Yeah. I'm, I'm honestly, I think I suffer from that syndrome where like, um, founders think, oh, I can do it myself. It's honestly no, like you need, uh, actual legal advice and sometimes legal advice is expensive or it's just hard to kind of navigate, um, my ideal solution is just a bit of tech that can help put it together. Not much different from what you guys do. Um, but yeah, for example, for some things like shareholder agreements, um, right now, you know, for any evaluations, cause we have someone in America, so we want to like, um, get that fair, uh, share price value so we can issue stocks legally, so the IRS don't come in like cause mayhem. So yeah, there's quite a few documents that, um, we've struggled with, or I've just wasted a bit too much time when I should have just, uh, got more legal counsel, I'd say.

14:49 Charles Brecque And I guess the key takeaway for founders is even though legal is expensive, um, it's important. And at least, um, I mean, I was speaking to another founder about this the other day, ultimately, you know, we've got tech debt and we know that you can push, push the can down the line, but it does catch up with you. And there's the same thing with legal, there's legal debt. Um, and starting early ensures that you have the right foundations. Um, but also, you know, the difference between, I mean, the same way tech debt can kill your product, legal can kill your business, so it's really important get it right from day one. And I think, you know, ultimately it legislate, we don't provide legal advice and we're not trying to provide legal advice, but we at least provide a framework where when you do start to create contracts for your employees, contractors, or even NDAs with partners or clients, at least you've got everything in one place. You can track the data and you've got really solid foundations for your business.

15:47 Peter Monteza I think that's really important, like to have the visibility and just have it all in one place. It's almost like having, yeah, it's kind of like a data room, right? You want it to be super clear. And when you give it to investors, when they're doing the diligence, like you just want everything. You don't want to be like, like going through your Google Drive to find this file or folder that you can no longer find, or it's been deleted, or there's something on your local device that doesn't match up with something that you've already sent out to an investor. Um, so yeah, having it in one place, I think is important.

16:15 Charles Brecque Yeah. And I also think, you know, uh, you might think the drive is organized and all of that, but even if it is, you can't search for, you can only search by name of the document. Yeah. So if you've called all your documents, NDA or like whatever, it's, it's a, it's a real, real challenge. And I guess that's, you know, one of our USPs is you can actually filter your documents by the data as opposed to what the document's called. That's pretty sick. Yeah. Well, um, that's legislation. Um, so great. And I guess, um, you know, you're on the tech story podcast, um, you're wearing a whoop. Is that your favourite tech product or?

16:56 Peter Monteza I just got this a few days ago. Really? It's still calibrating. Okay. Um, so yeah, I'm a bit into minds about it. Like I like the data insights, but I'm also like, when will I ever take this off?

17:07 Charles Brecque Yeah. Well, I mean, I, um, I got mine a couple of months ago and I remember when I, when it was calibrating, I found it really frustrating not knowing where I was in terms of, is this good? Is this bad? Am I recovering or not? Um, but the truth is, yeah, you don't take it off. The only time I ever take it off is when I'm going through airport security. But, but it does, I mean, I'm quite satisfied. Um, and I've also just been, um, abroad for two weeks and the impact that that had on my recovery is massive and I can actually, I've only just recovered now that I'm back, I've been back for a week. So I think from that perspective, it has been quite insightful. Um, but yeah, aside from the week where you're not convinced yet, what was your favourite product?

17:56 Peter Monteza Ah, it's a tough one. You know what? Um, this is going to sound, uh, this is probably going to be the worst answer, but honestly, like I just love airports in the sense of like, um, yeah, like I, I always run, so like I used to run with like wired, the wired ones and they always get stuck or caught or whatever, but yeah, honestly, I just picked something very simple, value added, just airports.

18:26 Charles Brecque Great answer. And, um, closing question for, um, any founders or prospective founders listening to the episode, um, what one piece of advice would you give them?

18:38 Peter Monteza Um, well, yeah, I mean, earlier I said kind of like really build depth, not with the thing that's really important. Cause as you said, focus is, um, one of your biggest assets is being able to prioritise correctly. I think that aside from that would be just the team and the people around you to make sure that you are working with people who are, you know, equally as hungry, they're determined, they care about the vision, they're aligned. Um, and they're not making excuses. I think that's really important. Um, because you don't want bad egg or anything like that. It can start to like spill over, um, and just kind of brings team morale down. Operations can start dhttps://www.myarc.fitness/mayaeclining and you might think like, oh, is the product wrong or anything like that, but really it comes down to team and how well you guys execute. I like that saying where like, I think it was a Netflix founder who said, you know, don't say T, uh, you know, you want to be like a family, be more like a sports team. Yeah. Uh, I think that's a really good analogy and I think it's important to kind of be honest with yourself and your teammates to always be like, oh, are these the right people? Am I the right person? Do I really want this as well? So I would say like audit your team and let them audit you as well. Like be open to feedback as well and don't take a person like.

19:55 Charles Brecque Yeah. I mean, I think, uh, in, in startups, I mean, especially as a founder, it's very easy to say everything personally, but the reality is, is, um, it's all about having that positive mindset because there will be problems, challenges, and need to overcome them. Um, but, but I guess it makes perfect sense for a fitness company to view themselves as professional athletes.

20:15 Peter Monteza Um, so we try, try and keep to adherence. Yeah.

20:20 Charles Brecque Great. Well, thanks a lot for coming on the show, Peter. Thank you. Best of luck growing my art.

20:24 Peter Monteza Thank you very much. Thank you.

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