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How Talent Hack is powering the next generation of fitness and wellness instructors

Why Emergence led its $17M Series A

We are proud to announce that Emergence has led a $17M Series A investment in Talent Hack, the platform powering fitness and wellness creators. We could not be more excited to welcome its CEO Alexandra Bonetti, Head of Product Emily Sanford Lebec, and their team to the Emergence family.

The fitness industry is dear to my heart. I recently became a new mother and my workouts were one of the few things that kept me sane during those early months. Through my trainer, Maria, I got an inside look at what it takes to run a small fitness studio. When the pandemic hit, I watched Maria, like most fitness instructors, struggle to stitch together several different software and apps in order to manage her business. Think: Google Sheets for scheduling, Venmo or Paypal for collecting payments, Youtube tutorials for learning the basics of client acquisitions, Zoom for virtual sessions, and the list goes on.

As I got to know Maria, I started to research the industry and what, if any, tools were available to this audience. What I found was surprising—and a huge opportunity. In the U.S. alone there are more than two million wellness instructors who are training tens of millions of people. Most of them work in very small studios or are self-employed (what we call solopreneurs). Yet, there are no solutions built with the solopreneur and their business needs in mind. This became painfully clear during the pandemic when fitness creators urgently needed a dedicated solution to help them keep their businesses, and their livelihood, running. 

Talent Hack does just that. 

Unlike any other company on the market, Talent Hack’s mission is to serve fitness and wellness creators. They do this by providing a platform with various tools and services to help them run their businesses by streamlining the backend (finance, admin, payment processing, marketing, etc.) and letting the creators focus on what they love (teaching). Most importantly, I believe that Alexandra Bonetti, Talent Hack’s founder and CEO, possesses what it takes—experience, industry expertise, and exceptional leadership—to win this $10 billion market.

Alexandra and I love mixing business with fitness!
Alexandra and I love mixing business with fitness!

It is important to note that Talent Hack is not just about building a business-in-a-box for fitness creators. It is also about creating and nurturing a community that creators can trust and rely on, one that was built with their best interest at heart. This is something that has been missing from the industry for far too long; most of the investments in the fitness-tech industry have been made at the expense of creators, aiming at squeezing them or disrupting them altogether. Don’t get me wrong—I love my Peloton—but Emergence believes that empowering the humans behind the fitness industry is the best way to build a large and sustainable business. 

Over the past two decades, the industry’s center of gravity saw a clear shift from big box gyms, such as Equinox and 24-Hour Fitness to the rise of boutique studios, such as Soulcycle, CorePower Yoga, Rumble. Now, the industry has moved closer to the individual instructor, or as Talent Hack calls them “fitness creators”. 

This shift is partly due to the prevalence of social media platforms like Instagram where creators (across all industries, not just fitness) can connect and grow their own audiences, coupled with the pandemic’s nudge towards virtual classes. This industry is very fragmented and most fitness creators are either self-employed or work for very small studios. As such, many of them (like most creators of other disciplines) feel the need to connect with other like-minded individuals who share their same challenges, dreams, and aspirations. Talent Hack is fostering this community by providing the education and knowledge needed for long-term fruitful relationships and success. 

Alexandra has experienced the industry’s shift from bigger gyms and studios towards individual instructors first-hand. A first-generation Venezuelan immigrant and a Wharton grad, Alexandra pursued fitness to help manage stress and anxiety during her time as a consultant. After she saw how fitness changed her life and her perspective, she opened her first fitness studio, Bari, in New York, in 2010 when she was only 25. Eight years later, Bari had multiple locations, dozens of instructors, and thousands of raving fans. 

After successfully owning and operating Bari for many years, Alexandra saw the challenges the fitness instructors faced, and she set out to use her background in finance to build a new business to serve this community. Through her experience, Alexandra understands the ins and outs of the industry, and above all the growing role of trainers, or “talent” (hence the name Talent Hack). She is relentlessly committed to helping each individual fitness creator succeed, and within five seconds of meeting her, it is very clear she will break down walls (and ceilings!) to make it happen. Emergence believes that Alexandra’s passion and deep industry knowledge paired with Head of Product Emily Sanford Lebec’s strong product-focus is the winning combination to build a powerful platform that will change the world of fitness and wellness, and, in the process, build a multi-billion dollar company. 

We also believe the new generation of iconic tech companies will be led by CEOs who not only can connect with and understand their target customers from a unique vantage point, but also that represent them. This is particularly true in the fitness industry because these creators are amongst the most diverse groups of professionals there are. Alexandra’s empathy for their life journey (as a Latina, as an immigrant, and as a mother) positions her incredibly well to build a product that the entire industry will not only need, but most importantly, love. 

Congratulations to Alexandra, Emily, and the whole Talent Hack team!