Exo, the Airbnb version of indoor sport

The prospect of the Olympic Games in Paris not only stimulates the imagination of athletes. The 2024 deadline also gives entrepreneurs ideas. “Having the Olympic Games in a year and a half in Paris, that’s what motivated us crazy,” says Bérénice Marmonier, co-founder of Exo, a new platform dedicated to sports practice. Former journalist of the group L’Équipe, the young woman left her post last summer, in order to embark on the niche of digital commerce with her companion, Bastien Lachambre, former product manager at La Française des Jeux (FDJ). Their start-up, Exo, has just joined the Parisian incubator Paris & Co, alongside around fifteen young companies operating in the field of sport.

“Today people are used to having everything, right away. A sports lesson must be as easy to book as a museum, a movie or a play. »

Bastien Lachambre, co-founder of Exo

The idea of ​​the platform was born from a beginner’s frustration. “I have an autoimmune disease and I was advised to do a little more sport, yoga for examplesays Bérénice Marmonier. One night I said to myself ”I’m going to test a session, to see what it is”. And it turned out to be quite laborious as research. I said to myself : ”in fact there is no site where, like on Airbnb, I can find an activity for the next day, without having to subscribe for a year”. “Launched in mid-December, Exo is supposed to fill this gap, by allowing you to reserve a slot of activity, according to your geographical location and your desire of the moment, without having to search for hours for the appropriate gym on the internet. . “Today people are used to having everything, right away. A sports lesson must be as easy to book as a museum, a movie or a play”picture Bastien Lachambre.

The platform also seeks to adapt to changes in lifestyles and consumption. Thanks to Exo, nomadic workers can, for example, treat themselves to a boxing or climbing session when they are far from their usual place of practice. “The Covid has changed everything, says the co-founder. Three or four years ago, people were all gym subscribers. They didn’t mind not going there, paying 30 euros a month. And the rooms, it suited them very well to have lots of people who didn’t come. But with the Covid, where everyone found themselves on their sofa, watching the bank debits linked to services they did not use, a third of French people unsubscribed from the rooms. » To win back this evaporated clientele, the fitness sector has developed fee-for-service payments, but many gyms are struggling to fill up. The founders of Exo therefore did not have too much trouble convincing those they canvassed.

“Even if, in the idea, we want more advantageous prices for users, we are not here to break the market. »

Bérénice Marmonier, co-founder of Exo.

The activities of nearly 120 sports halls in the Paris region are currently listed on the platform. This one negotiates a price for its customers and is remunerated thanks to a small commission. “Even if, in the idea, we want more advantageous prices for users, we are not here to break the market”, explains Bérénice Marmonier. The two entrepreneurs rely heavily on the “Tripadvisor effect” to develop their portfolio of cinemas. At Tripadvisor, launched in 2000, restaurants now approach the platform to be referenced. Several venues have already applied to join Exo.

The project led by the new residents of Paris & Co goes beyond the simple reservation service. “Our goal is also to show that there are lots of fun things in sport. You don’t have to go to a room to lift weights two centimeters from someone”, develops Bérénice Marmonier. The platform makes it possible to highlight different disciplines, about thirty for the moment. Thanks to Exo, you can discover an original place for climbing, such as the Climbing district site of Saint-Lazare, a former chapel. You can also book a “Kangoo Jump” session in Vincennes (Val-de-Marne), a fitness discipline allowing you to work on your cardio by putting on bouncy boots.

In the future, Exo dreams of being a platform of recommendations, where athletes would pick up ideas for their next activities. But to become essential, the start-up must change scale, gradually establishing itself in other cities. Its founders have so far been satisfied with a minimal fundraising (around 150,000 euros), but they plan to meet new investors soon to finance their development.

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Exo, the Airbnb version of indoor sport

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