Based in Chiang Mai, this German startup wants to reach out to yoga enthusiasts
Yoga practitioners, teachers and providers can now look for relevant information and market their services on YogaTrailBy Elaine Huang 21 Mar, 2014
Incorporated in Germany, YogaTrail, a tech startup that allows yoga practitioners to find relevant programmes and content, has plans to form a Thai company in the Southeast Asian country in the near future. After all, the founders have all been working out of Chiang Mai, Thailand for the last two years.
The website, however, was only launched last June. “We started two years ago exactly. Now, we’re beginning to show some traction — with revenue coming in, good viral growth and decent success on social media,” said Alex Klein, Co-founder, YogaTrail.
The startup has accumulated more than 50,000 listings, 35,000 live profiles, and 20,000 members. At time of writing this report, its Facebook Page had 107,000 likes, and its Twitter Page had 31,900 followers. It has recently launched its mobile app for iOS and Android devices.
YogaTrail has been bootstrapped from the beginning and is in the process of looking for investors.
The team is made of a trio of Co-founders — Alex Klein, Alex Jaton (his wife) and Sven Ernst — and two developers. Klein handles business development, while Jaton heads customer development and Ernst looks after the product itself. Ernst, for one, has lived in Thailand for nine years.
The husband-wife duo first encountered yoga in Kerala, India. They admit on the company’s website, “Neither of us could be called an expert or authority on any particular style of yoga. We are not yoga teachers, don’t hold any certifications, and we haven’t been practicing yoga for all that long, relatively speaking. We’re just two people who love yoga.”
However, their love for yoga is often met with challenges like scouring out activities, events, different programmes and teachers through the internet. They wrote, “When searching the web for yoga, we found the results to be often confusing, sometimes completely overwhelming, or just simply lacking. And, in the midst of all that, it turned out that some of our best yoga experiences came through a recommendation by someone else.”
At one glance, there are yoga teachers and yoga providers hailing from all around the globe. Users can sign up for a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training session in Bali, a eight-day Silent Meditation session in Guatemala, or even a 10-week Yoga Anatomy class in Singapore.
Klein told e27 that they aim to solve two problems. Firstly, there is the issue of not being able to find relevant and suitable yoga classes. This is especially true for travellers. Secondly, the website offers yoga teachers and venues ways to market their services. He added, “Many yoga professionals use Facebook for that, or they resort to hanging up flyers around town — pretty dysfunctional.”
While yoga providers can list themselves for free on the site, they can pay and upgrade to receive access to premium features like being listed on the company’s newsletter. In addition, YogaTrail generates revenue through display advertisements.
In the future, YogaTrail will implement a feature that will allow users to see yoga schedules of providers and venues they are interested in. This means that yoga practitioners will no longer have to check out several websites just to plan their sessions.