On the up · 20 June 2018

“You need to be thick-skinned and turn setbacks into a positive”: How TruBe founder built a leading fitness app

In the three years since inception, TruBe has disrupted the health and fitness market

Daria Kantor is the founder of the Uber-styled fitness app, TruBe, where personal trainers travel to wherever their client is.

With highly trained personal trainers specialising in HIIT training to yoga, the app makes motivated exercise more accessible and personalised.

Being passionate about fitness, health and wellbeing, the mother-of-two has built her three-year-old business whilst balancing family life.

The TruBe aims to help other businesswomen pursue a healthy lifestyle and a good work-life ratio by enabling users to choose an exercise type, a time, location and a trainer within a few clicks.

For the first instalment in our new Women in Micro Business series, Business Advice caught up with Kantor to discuss whether she thinks there are enough women running their own enterprises and why she doesn’t have any business heroes of her own.

Who are you and what is your business?

My name is Daria Kantor, I founded TruBe three years ago with the mission to make personal fitness training more accessible, flexible and dynamic. Personal trainers are of course not new, but with TruBe’s app you can book a PT session as quickly and as easily as you can order an Uber.

In the three years since inception, TruBe has disrupted the health and fitness market, enabling many more people to keep fit than ever before.

TruBe has to date been fully bootstrapped by myself and has grown into the most widely used personal fitness app in the UK. The main market is currently London, but soon TruBe is looking to expand across the UK and internationally.

We’re targeting busy office workers, jet-setters and stay at home mums. The idea came to me when I found it tricky to fit training around family duties as a busy young mother. The idea initially came from the need to have a trainer built in around my schedule, not the other way around.

What challenges can women expect to face in business?

Things are better today than ever before and there’s a definite improvement on equality in the business world compared to a few years ago. But, many women do still struggle for equal pay and in some industries, an “old boys” culture still exists, but things are changing for the better every day and we continue looking forward for women in businesses.

Do you think there are enough women running their own businesses?

There are not enough men either! I would like to see more entrepreneurs from every walk of life. But, yes, it would be great if more women would become entrepreneurs, more and more, setting up your own business is becoming an attractive option for women for a number of reasons.

Having more flexibility is a major factor for women looking to run their own business but the ability to have more control, whilst enjoying the financial benefits, will be the biggest pull for anyone with ambition.

What do you think are the advantages of having more women in business?

I think that men or women should be hired on their merits. But, women are 50% of the population, so if you don’t run your business equally, then you are severely limiting the power of your workforce.

I wouldn’t want to generalise as men and women are very different, but so are certain men and certain women. But clearly, the more diverse your pool or talent – including nationality, demographic, personality style – the better your results.

Have you ever had any discriminative experiences because of being female?

No, I’ve never experienced anything, but I know many who have, and one act of discrimination is one too many.

How do you handle knockbacks?

I’m a big believer in what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger! I’m good at being positive and learning from everything. As an entrepreneur, you need to be thick-skinned, a quick learner and turn a set back into a positive. That’s the mantra I follow in business. 

 What advice do you have for other women wanting to start their own business?

Just do it! There’s always a reason to hold back, but believe in yourself and do it. The only thing stopping you, is you. On a more professional level, being able to adapt is crucial. I grew up travelling a lot, and this has taught me how to adapt quickly to the environment around me and to be strong and face any challenges I encounter.

I can’t stress enough the importance of this quality. The business world is constantly changing, and we need to keep up with that. At TruBe, we always look for new ways to improve our service. We don’t always wait to see a change a react to it, we try to lead the way and shape those changes.

What can the business community do to help more women entrepreneurs?

There is a lot being done now – mentoring opportunities, networking groups, more understanding about flexible working. We need to keep on this path. I’m not talking about doing anyone special favours, just having a level playing field.

How do you hope your business to develop in the future?

We have so many plans and have just launched our new massage feature, which is already proving to be really popular.

We’re looking into other opportunities to expand into other services, from yoga, pilates and other health and wellbeing areas, so the possibility is endless in terms of what we can offer our users.

We are considering expanding nationally and into other countries, and truly see TruBe take over.

Who are your business heroes?

I wouldn’t say I really have a business hero. I look to different people around me and their input if I have to say I look up to anyone.

What are you reading at the moment?

Currently reading Shoe Dog by Phil Knight – a memoir by the creator of Nike. 

Which one song is always on your playlist?

Dire Straits – Sultans of Swings.

Where was last your holiday?

Rio de Janeiro.

When are you happiest?

Being efficient.

We’re inviting Britain’s women micro business owners to have their stories heard. To nominate yourself or somebody else for our weekly series, get in touch at editors@businessadvice.co.uk

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Carly Hacon is a reporter for Business Advice. She has a BA in journalism from Kingston University, and has previously worked as a features editor for a local newspaper.