Pakistani women’s fitness startup AimFit has raised a $1-million seed round led by Pakistan-focused fund Indus Valley Capital. The round was also joined by other local angel investors including a unicorn founder and the founding team of Pakistani startup Atoms.
AimFit was founded in 2014 by Oxford-educated sisters, Mahlaqa and Noor-ul-Hira Shaukat, in Lahore. Upon their return from the UK, Mahlaqa and Noor discovered a lack of female fitness spaces in Pakistan which led to the start of AimFit.
Since then, the firm has grown into a community of 5,000 members across four studios, served by a team of 55 instructors trained by AimFit’s own instructor academy and certification programme.
According to Mahlaqa Shaukat, CEO of AimFit, the proceeds will be used to develop its online product and expand its studio footprint. The COVID-19 lockdown has already led to an increase in online membership locally and abroad, with some 5-7 per cent of its members coming from overseas markets like the UK, US and the Middle East. In the next year, it plans to expand its membership to 10,000 people.
Shaukat added that it also plans to launch two more studios in 2021, with at least one situated in Karachi – a new city for the company. Its existing four studios are in Lahore and Islamabad and remain the primary source of profits for AimFit with some 38-42 per cent of its profit margins coming from its studios alone.
While the COVID-19 lockdown has also led to a temporary pause in studio operations, AimFit said it has not reduced its staff salaries or headcount during this season. It however remains cautious and adaptive to the pandemic and aims to maintain breakeven this year. It will also be making 15-20 hires in key positions such as content, product and technology in the next few months to support its growth.
Indus Valley Capital is a Pakistan-focused VC investing in early-stage tech startups in Pakistan, raising $15 million for its first country-focused fund. It joins the ranks of Sarmayacar, i2i Ventures and Fatima Gobi Ventures, all of which are also newly-launched funds investing solely in the Pakistani market.
It recently led a $1.3-million pre-seed funding round for Pakistan-based B2B marketplace startup Bazaar.