Fitbot… we had a great run, but we’re excited to announce that as of today, Fitbot is now TrueCoach.
The meat on the bones of this rebrand is the launch of our long-awaited iOS app for clients. For the past 3 years our web app has allowed you to access Fitbot on any device with a web browser. This helped us stay lean through a mostly bootstrapped effort without too much outside funding, but the experience a native app can deliver, especially on iOS, just can’t be matched.
We’ve been hard at work this past year to build a smoother experience, with things like better offline support, push notifications to keep clients more engaged with their coach, and a faster file upload process.
Building on top of Stripe, we’re also releasing our beta program for client-to-coach payment processing! The first phase of our payments beta is focused on making it dead simple for coaches in the U.S. to handle monthly recurring subscriptions. We’ll be rolling out additional functionality and access to more folks in waves, similar to how we rolled out features in the iOS beta, if you’ve been participating in that.
We began as Fitbot because we loved the name’s simplicity. It was short, easy to spell, easy to say, easy to remember, and just made sense. Fit captured our big dreams for fitness and bot was the synthesis of automating some of the more mundane processes of running a coaching business. We envisioned a baby robot automating the mundane tasks of billing, delivering workouts, and keeping coaches in the loop of what was going on in their business, freeing up their valuable time to build their businesses, expand their reach, and do what they love most – COACH!
We’d be lying if we said we weren’t a little sad to say goodbye to Fitbot, and our mascot Swoletron (you may see him make a cameo in the future), but it’s the right call. Shortly after founding Fitbot, automated chatbots made a huge emergence, becoming one of the hottest (and overhyped, IMO) trends in tech. Including “bot” in the name was misleading for some users. This was our opportunity to break away from the confusion there.
Additionally, the longer we’ve been in business and the more we connect with our community of coaches and clients, we continue to learn that the value-add of what we’re building is ultimately the human element. The importance of the relationship between coach and client cannot be overstated. It’s the motivation behind everything we’re putting our blood, sweat, and tears into. Having “bot” in our name didn’t honor this dynamic well.
Our trademark application for the name Fitbot was also denied for being too similar to the name of another larger fitness brand. We harbor no hard feelings and we’ll let you guess who that might have been 😉. Ultimately, it forced us to stop delaying the inevitable. We knew it needed to be done, even if it cost us some brand equity in the short term. Instead of dwelling on this and viewing it as a setback, we decided to approach it as an opportunity for massive upgrade and focused the team around launching iOS and payments along with the rebrand. I have to give the entire team massive credit for buying in and hitting our launch date!
An Inside Job
Once we realized we would need to rename, we hired three different consultants to help us brainstorm on our behalf. Despite their efforts, nothing they handed over had a trademark available, nor really hit the mark for us, and we weren’t ever really fully satisfied and excited with what was produced. Were we given names that we could have made work? Sure. But none of them felt quite right, and none were an upgrade over what we had.
One of our front-end developers, Emilie Hester, randomly offered up a name one day: TrueCoach. It clicked and quickly rose to the top of contenders. True captures the authenticity and entrepreneurial spirit of our coach clients and Coach captures what they do. There are more and more AI-based coaches on the market today and True places the emphasis on the human side, where we want it to be. Our customers want to know that they’re using a service with real people behind it and humans are at the center of all of this. Fitbot was more nebulous; newcomers didn’t know if their coaching would be coming from an algorithm or an actual person. We’re thrilled that the name was developed internally but we didn’t know it would. Naming happened organically but shouldn’t have come as any surprise. After all, who knows the brand better than our team does? Thanks, Emilie!
We’re still heads down building payments and getting it ready for its post-beta debut. We have a slew of upgrades on the roadmap for the iOS app as well.
What’s next? What about Android? Luckily, Android comes with much better support for more native-like experiences with PWA’s (Progressive Web Apps) than iOS does, and we’ll be beefing up the current web app to support all of that goodness. Things like push notifications, better offline support, and a better uploading experience are all possible and on the short-term roadmap.
We’re also working on a native companion app just for coaches that will launch with both iOS and Android versions. We’ll have more to share here within the next six to eight weeks.
Up ’til now our team’s sole focus has been on building tools that help you deliver the best “in gym” experience to your clients. Soon we’ll be shifting some of our focus to life outside of the gym so that you can help your clients win the day; nutrition, habit-tracking, integration with other fitness platforms, optimizing your calendar and simple lifestyle changes to create a healthy tipping point. We’re stepping up our game and helping users do the same. We also have one more exciting announcement that we will hopefully be able to tell you more about next week.
I still view TrueCoach as being in its infancy. I love the team we are building and have to give them massive credit for where we are today. They are by far the smartest and most fun group of people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. There’s still a lot left to build, and to support our big dreams and product goals, we’re hiring! If you’re interested in joining our team of dedicated, passionate, and talented developers, designers, marketers and customer success professionals in gorgeous Boulder, Colorado check our open roles, or you can introduce yourself at [email protected]
TrueCoach comes with a free two-week trial and no credit card is required. You’ll be up and running in mere minutes. If you’re debating whether it’s worth the test drive, don’t take our word for it…take it from our current clients. Tag your posts on Instagram with #poweredbytruecoach. We look forward to seeing you on the other side!
If you haven’t read our origin story yet, that’s an ideal place to start. My co-founder Robbie wrote about how we met as nerdy fourth graders, our formative career-making years and the valuable journey through Techstars in Chicago in 2016. You can find that post here.