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Executive Voice

Improving Post-Pandemic Physical Activity : A startup tackling social issues

Kunal Kalra is the founder of KeepActive a startup tackling physical inactivity and loneliness in Australia.

KeepActive website allows people to discover local activity groups and organisers that match their preferences – chosen activity(walking, running, hiking or sports), age group, gender, day and level of play. KeepActive also has listings of initiatives like parkrun, and local sport socials arranged by venues to provide even more options for people to get active. The website is based on behavioural science research that has shown people are more likely to stay active in a social setting where they feel safe, supported and enjoy themselves. Whether it is local walking groups, running clubs, badminton socials or tennis socials, KeepActive has a range of activities and groups to encourage everyone to get active.

Last but not the least, they have local trainers and coaches on platform who can help people returning to physical activity increase their confidence, build up their skills and avoid injury.

What inspired you to start KeepActive?

I started KeepActive with my co-founder Sherol Singh in Oct ‘21 to solve a problem for ourselves and the social isolation we were noticing affecting our friends, family and community. We were seeing people shutting themselves from society, spending more time on devices and television screens.

Due to covid, the proliferation of remote work opportunities had helped people spend more time with family but further reduced their social interactions.

We started with our own WhatsApp badminton group and were seeing an amazing difference in people with many participants returning to sports after years of inactivity. Equally important was the new friends network they which helped support their mental health. But, attracting new members to the group was a constant struggle. From talking to others, we noticed they are multiple groups facing the same challenges. These groups were using platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook Groups and Messenger Groups to avoid high Meetup fees. Platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook Groups are great for communication but provide very limited local discoverability. We created KeepActive to make these local groups more discoverable and give more people an opportunity to find a group that is right for them.

What are some of the barriers to getting active?

Some of the common barriers that stop people from getting active are:

  1. Lack of motivation
  2. Lack of time
  3. Friends and Family don’t share same interest
  4. Lack of representation and role models
  5. Cost of equipment
  6. Family obligations
  7. Fear of injury
  8. Uncomfortable uniform requirements
  9. Unable to commit to a set time
  10. Lack of confidence

How does KeepActive help address these barriers?

Source: Unsplash

We have kept KeepActive free for participants and local social organisers. This is to make our service accessible to everyone and to encourage more people to create local groups. We believe by having a range of different free and paid activities we can help people find a group where they feel safe and supported. This could be a ladies only walking group, chinese community badminton group, seniors tennis group or a midweek soccer mums group. By having a range of groups that suit different budgets, age ranges, ability, competitiveness and interests we believe we can help everyone find a group where they can make need friends and stay engaged.

What are the features for group organisers?

Group organisers can also manage members, create events, collect RSVPs and chat with group members. For groups that are already hosted on other platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook, to improve their discoverability, we allow organisers to list these groups without needing to change platforms. This allows organisers to stay with their preferred platform but continue to attract new members, making their groups more sustainable. We believe organisers are amazing and vital to making community events happen. In order to encourage more organiser, we want to remove barriers and make group admin easy.

How do you plan to keep the groups free?

We have two planned revenue sources:

  1. Sponsorship – By aligned organisations that share our mission of increase participation in sports and community.
  2. Listing and Transaction fees – We plan to charge a listing fee to trainers and coaches to help them increase their brand awareness and a transaction fee for bookings made through the platform.

What are some of the challenges you foresee? 

Encouraging people to get active and prioritise physical activity in their busy lifestyles is a not an easy task. We are continuously focused on our social media and blog to create awareness on benefits of physical activity. We are also partnering with aligned organisations to create fun family events for people to find the joy of sports again and regain their confidence to start their fitness journey. We have a long challenging road ahead, but also an amazing opportunity to create a healthier and happier Australia.

To find our more, visit KeepActive.com.au.

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