Fitco is the management, retention and sales software & app for fitness boutique centers. Thanks to Fitco, fitness centers manage payments, class inventories, trainers management, etc. in an efficient and dynamic way.

Fitco is born from a need. Andrea Baba had a fitness business and as it grew and diversified to scale she realized she needed a more sophisticated tool than her notebooks and Excel spreadsheets.   Thus was born the germ of FITCO already present throughout Latin America: Peru, Chile, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina. In 2018 Andrea and Alexander were part of the Startup Chile program and their time in Chile was a before and after life changing experience for them.  Andrea Baba, co-founder and CEO, explains her experience growing as a Eurolatina startup about to enter the Spanish market.

What are the main challenges faced by startups when expanding from Latin America?

In May we started the campaign to enter and sell in Spain in the second half of 2019 and added to that, we have been working with Training Gym, a Spanish company at the partner level…  For us it is key to have a local partner in the world of fitness to take the step to enter an international market. We have many things in common in addition to the language, our platform thanks to its features is easily adaptable to the Spanish market with small customization, such as adapting the payment gateway.

We are developing a new line of content through our platform. Offering online class content, for all those customers who cannot physically attend the fitness centers, so they can enjoy and exercise from home, from the office, etc..remotely. It is an excellent alternative, online classes that allows you to enjoy the experience with the confidence of following the instructors you know thanks to our centers. It is a new challenge that we face with great enthusiasm and that allows us to bring new practices from Spain to LATAM or from Mexico to Peru.

What are the main challenges faced by startups when expanding from Latin America?

As I mentioned before, having a reliable local partner who knows and guides you in the market you are entering is key to success. It’s not easy, but the local partner and a talented team are the drive to success. For example, we have a team of 12 people in Mexico and thanks to them, everything works and we can grow in other countries.

Another challenge that exists in LATAM and that has been overcome is the fear of using the card to make online purchases and now everyone buys online.  In our case the confidence of the customer is critical to use the card on our website and app.  The process of change and adaptation to new technologies is unstoppable, but there is still some way to go.

Key learnings/recommendations for companies planning to grow internationally

A good market product fit and a team ready to carry out the expansion are key. Knowing the local market is fundamental, Mexico for example is 6 times bigger than other markets in which we are present and you need to have that local knowledge and be on the ground …if not, you are lost!

Local partner yes or yes! Returning to the case of Mexico that I mentioned before, in our story having the support of “500 startups “was definitive because it opens up an enormous range of networks of contacts, possible local partners, access to investors etc. that is otherwise very difficult to get.

The issues of visas, bureaucratic procedures etc. in the different countries is always a barrier that in our case when we were in Chile, were resolved by being part of Startup Chile.

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