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How Payal Kadakia Created $500 million Startup ClassPass


It has recently been reported that Payal Kadakia has an estimated net worth of $50 million and what is even more amazing is that she is just getting started. Many people are wondering how she did it. She has a remarkable story and we're going to take a closer look at how she has managed to make a small fortune with ClassPass.

ClassPass is a membership service that has been designed to allow people who subscribe to the service access to take advantage of a huge selection of fitness classes. With so many who are interested in improving their health and becoming more fit these days, it has met with huge success and it hasn't been around for that long. It was founded by Payal Kadakia along with her co-founder Mary Biggins. Both of the women are just thirty three years old and have already realized tremendous success in their new startup that has taken off like wildfire.

How ClassPass works

ClassPass offers its members up to three classes per studio with an unlimited total number of fitness classes for a rate of a hundred and twenty five dollars a month. This is a huge discount for most users because some fairly expensive fitness boutiques are participating. The benefits not only include a huge savings, but members also get to try a little bit of everything that is offered with regard to fitness programs in the surrounding area. It is no small wonder that it has become such a major success.

Who is Payal Kadakia?

She is the co-founder and CEO of ClassPass. Her parents immigrated to the United States from the western part of India. They are both chemists by profession. Payal attended New Jersey public schools where she was a cheerleader for the football team. She had a passion for dance and did this in her spare time on weekends. Kadakia is classically trained in Indian dance. She is also self trained in Bollywood dancing style and learned it by watching films. She attended college and MIT majoring in operations research and economics. While in school, she launched an Indian dance troup and upon graduation from MIT founded the Sa Dance Company and is still actively involved in this endeavor to this day.


What spurred her decision to form a fitness service?

One evening while Payal was enjoying an evening at a local Starbucks planning her startup strategy she was accosted by a mugger who sprayed her with mace and attempted to rob her. His intention was to steal her laptop. He managed to get her phone but was interrupted by a good samaritan who scared him off. It was at this point that the tiny Payal decided that she needed to build a little more bulk so she could better physically defend herself. This is what initiated her interest in starting up a business that was fitness based.The business expanded rapidly and she it is estimated at a $500 million value.

The first attempt

Kadakia had already decided before the mugging to form a new startup called Classtivity which centered around mind and body. The startup was a near failure with fewer than one hundred classes booked through the service. Not even low cost promotions seemed to keep customers involved. She got her lucky break when she started signing agreements with more well known and high end fitness studios. These brought customers in by the truckloads. The business was initially launched in 2013 and in the three years that it has been in operation the business is valued at $500 million. She was listed by Forbes as one of 8 female entrepreneurs who are definitely on the rise.


Investors were interested in ClassPass as well. They finished a round of series B funding last January raising $40 million in a campaign that was led by Thrive Capital and General Catalyst Partners. An additional $4 million in venture funding was given by investors in March with the promise of more as needed.


ClassPass, under Payals direction now includes a lineup of a couple of hundred different studios in the New York City area. This makes the discount and variety membership service even more attractive to new prospects. This is not to mention the loyal subscribers who are staying with the company at a fair rate. Kadakia has expanded her company team to twenty eight staff members in order to keep up with all of the business that they're getting. Thanks to the venture capital from investors, the business has also included forty fitness centers in the San Francisco, California area with recent launches in Los Angeles and Boston.

Final thoughts

Payal Kadakia is an extraordinary young entrepreneur who has turned a negative experience in her personal life into a multimillion dollar startup. Within the short period of three years, she has built personal wealth and set her business on fire by offering people a good deal on services that are in high demand. She has a keen business sense and has accomplished more than many seasoned financial experts. What does the future hold for Payal?

We believe that it will go in the direction that she wants it to. Her ClassPass startup is a tremendous success and she has set herself up with a small fortune. She remains committed to her love of dance and still runs the troupe that she formed a few years back. Payal Kadakia is a talented young women with a variety of passions and interests. We see her going far in both her personal and her professional life. As for ClassPass, there is no indication that the business is going anywhere but upwards. It will be interesting to see how far they will expand. Who knows, it is possible that soon, ClassPass will become a household name as the branding becomes more widespread throughout the nation.

Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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