The First Steps of… Silofit
11 February 2020
The first stage of a startup offers an important learning curve and valuable lessons for young entrepreneurs. We met with the three Montreal inc. laureate finalists of the Prix Mtl inc. to highlight these first experiences, and how they can change the course of a company’s life. Interview with Wilfred Valenta, co-founder of Silofit.
“The first step to building Silofit from the ground up was getting our team together. After learning about real-estate-as-a-service from Breather, I wanted to apply this foundation to the gym industry, but through an app, so naturally, the first step was finding programmers to bring this idea to life by building the app. We got the Founding team together and started reaching out to trainers and gyms right away.”
“The idea of Silofit came about when I was working at Breather. I was looking for a gym nearby to squeeze a workout here and there into my busy schedule, however, committing to a monthly membership wasn’t reasonable for my lifestyle. I thought, “what if small, vacant offices were converted into gyms that could be booked on-demand, unlocked with a PIN code and used by the hour.” I knew I wasn’t the only one, and that there must be other busy people like me out there interested in exercising on their own, with no contracts or any strings attached.”
Company’s first name
“Originally, we were going to name the company “Solofit” but the domain was taken, so we opted for “Silofit,” which ended up being more representative of our brand. When you silo yourself, you’re isolated, which embodies us in more ways than one. In one sense, our spaces are your own personal studio – whether it’s to work out alone or train a client, you’re confined to your own personal space. Additionally, when you look at the office floor plan of any of the buildings we’re in, we’re the exception; our silos are located next to offices but are converted gyms, which really makes us different and divides us from the rest.”
“Our first grant was from Montreal Inc., who had heard about us through Yes Montreal. We reached out to them and went through the interview process. Their team was very excited about our idea. One member even said he’d be using Silofit regularly as soon as it was up and running.”
First round of funding
“In Silofit’s first round, we raised $150,000 from our angel investors. That’s when we started pitching at competitions like Sports Tech and the Fundica Roadshow, where we would meet with potential investors and angels. The second-year we went to Fundica, our team was doubled in size, which made our first big win all the more exciting!”
“I’d say one of our first big achievements was launching the first space, though it was another big milestone the first week it was fully booked (which was only one month after the launch)! Raising $1M in our last round was another very exciting achievement, and we’re thrilled to be closing this next round at $3.5M. Big things are coming this year and the whole team is feeling both proud and humbled.”
“I’ve learned three important lessons as a young entrepreneur. First off, managing risk is essential; make all the small mistakes early on when you can, and learn from them, to avoid making the big ones down the road. Secondly, it’s all about your team, so invest time and money into the people who will help you execute your vision. And finally, building that vision – not just for you, but for the whole company! It’s important everyone sees there’s a clear path, and you need to show them the way!”
Montreal inc. is a foundation that propels the success of innovative and ambitious businesses in their infancy, through grants, access to a prestigious business network, and expertise offered by seasoned volunteer coaches.