Failure and success are two sides of the same coin called life and no matter how many failures one has to undergo, if you have the determination and will to perform, success will definitely follow.

When Payal Kadakia set out on her professional journey in 2013 and launched fitness start up ClassPass, she didn’t achieve instant success. The first version of the startup, Classtivity, flopped and wide spread doubts were raised on her business model.

ClassPass, which facilitates Gym users to book local fitness classes for a set amount per month, had some tough years in the beginning but Payal changed it around with her innovative strategies and today ClassPass can be found in 39 cities around the world. It has generated more than 30 million class reservations since it’s inception in 2013 and has a net worth in excess of Rs 2600 crores.

Payal’s Journey from a dance lover to establishing a successful fitness startup is an inspiration in itself. She chased her dreams and moulded her destiny to become a Business guru. She started dancing when she was just 3 years old and it enabled her to get connected with herself. Dancing made her feel alive and and gave her the confidence to chase her dreams.

After her parents Immigrated to USA in 1970’s, her passion for dancing only grew further but she also found inspiration in science and maths. She entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology but her passion for dancing never died. She started a dance company in MIT, a dance troupe that’s still on MIT campus.

After she left MIT and started working with Bain in New York, she found herself a Bollywood dance class in the city and continued practicing. After two years at Bain, she took a job at Warner Music Group and performed with a group of girls who were professional and amazing at the art of dancing. Payal would perform on weekends and it was at her time with Warner, that she started her first company.


The vice chairman of Warner Music Group, Michael Fleisher helped her in fully conceiving her idea and in fact he also became her first investor. She later got enrolled in start up accelerator Tech Stars which was run by venture capitalist David Tisch.

She was able to raise first round funding for Classtivity through Tech Stars but Classitivity didn’t get the response she had hoped for. After few months of lack luster performance, she introduced an iteration in Classitivity, renamed it ClassPass and came up with the cheapest possible option for gym goers. Her start up offered classes for as low as $99 and it was a revelation for residents of New York.

Today, ClassPass has branches in over 39 countries and is worth more than Rs 2600 crores. Her personal worth is around Rs 350 crores and has been named by Forbes in it’s list of Emerging Women Entrepreneurs.