Startups August 21, 2020

Ignite Podcast – Episode 17 – Jack Thomas – Founder and CEO of BASE – You Need Some Elements of Technology Woven Into Your Concepts

Episode Summary


Quote: “To really thrive and survive in fitness, you need some elements of technology woven into your concepts.”

In this episode of the Asia Tech Podcast, Michael Waitze is joined by Jack Thomas, the Founder, and CEO of BASE and the host of the Fitness Business Asia podcast. Awarded as Bangkok’s Best Studio in 2020 and voted Gym of the Year at the Fitness Best Awards in 2018, BASE offers a variety of different training with their unique BASELINE® technology seamlessly woven into each training session that helps them monitor and track their fitness progress.

They discussed Jack’s journey as a fitness entrepreneur, how he went from working in retail to corporate to then starting his own boutique fitness chain that has changed the fitness landscape in Asia, as well as the intersection of technology and fitness.

The Corporate Realisation

“It sucked the soul out of me working for a soulless corporation,” Jack admitted. 

After making the decision to not attend university after highschool, Jack worked a variety of jobs from pushing trolleys in IKEA to working in retail for both H&M and GAP, until he finally landed a job working in a bank. 

“I thought it would be a good career opportunity and progression for me,” he said. Jack explained that after his experience working in retail, he felt beyond lucky and exceptionally proud to be where he was and happily rode that wave.

However, like any wave, regardless of how high and forceful they may rise, they must all eventually collapse within themselves. And as the sparks of his new banking job slowly dissipated, so did Jack’s soul, and he realised that the corporate life in the UK was never going to be the path for him. 

It wasn’t long before Jack made the decision to explore a different career path, and after saving some money, he took his first step into his new future and hopped onto a plane to Thailand. It was there that he discovered a gap in Thailand’s health and fitness market. 

Finding His Base

Over the recent decade, boutique fitness has been on the rise and is only getting increasingly more popular each year, with its movement being felt globally. Bangkok is now home to some of the best boutique fitness centres in Asia, but this wasn’t always the case. 

One of the first people to dip their toes into these unchartered waters of Bangkok’s fitness industry was Jack Thomas. After identifying the gaps in Thailand’s fitness market in regards to gyms and fitness centres, Jack decided to make his career pivot and acquired a personal training qualification back in the UK. 

After that, Jack worked in a small fitness studio for 5 years where he gained the experience and developed the skills he needed to run his own fitness centre, and it wasn’t long before he set up BASE. 

Intersection of Technology and Fitness

“I didn’t realise the intersection in the beginning, there was no real discussion 9-10 years ago,” Jack reflected. 

Technology has made a disruption on every business in a variety of industries around the world – and the fitness industry is definitely no exception. New technological innovations are changing the way we exercise and have started to transform our everyday fitness activities, and BASE has now jumped onto this trend. 

To bring an element of recording and tracking to their client’s fitness progress, they’ve created their own digital product called BASEline, where members can track their workouts and how they’ve done after each class. 

Jack shared his insight on the advantages of the edge technology and how BASE has gamified the fitness experience to encourage people’s healthy behaviours and sustain motivation. 

To learn more about Jack Thomas and his journey to forming BASE, how he made waves in the fitness industry in Asia, and the gamification of fitness apps, listen to this episode of the Ignite Podcast today.

This episode was expertly edited and produced by Alanis Braun. You can see her portfolio here and her LinkedIn profile here. The music called “Clear Progress” was created by Scott Holmes.

Host


Michael has been podcasting with some of the best investors and business builders globally and discussing all things startup with them from an Asian perspective.

Michael I. Waitze worked in Global Finance for more than 20 years, employed by firms like Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, primarily in Tokyo.

Michael always maintained a particular focus on how technology could be used successfully to make businesses more efficient and to drive P/L growth.

After more than 20 years in Tokyo, Michael moved to Southeast Asia to get more involved in the Private Equity and Venture Capital business and invest his own capital.

Michael is quite skilled at connecting people and capital to innovative ideas and is a trusted advisor to both investors and founders. Michael has raised capital and advised some of the most famous startups in the region.

Michael is a leader in the digital media space, having pioneered the concept of a podcast network in Asia, while building the biggest and fastest growing listener base in the region. His flagship website, MichaelWaitzePresents.com, has listeners in over 100 countries and is available on virtually every podcast player that supports RSS feeds.

Guest


Jack Thomas

Guest

Jack Thomas is the founder and CEO of BASE, voted 'Bangkok's Best Studio' in the ClassPass Studio Awards 2020 and Asia's 'Gym of the Year' 2018 at the Fitness Best Awards.

Jack also hosts the Fitness Business Asia podcast, a weekly show that was created with a mission to raise the standards of the fitness industry in Asia, and a vision of becoming the region's leading fitness business resource.

As the podcast heads towards 100 episodes it regularly ranks in the top 10 entrepreneurship podcasts in Asia's key fitness markets such as Thailand, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Jack is a regular speaker at the fitness industry's biggest events such as FIT Summit, Asia Fitness Conference, FIBO, and ExPro.

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