Diary of a Startup
It's been a whirlwind few months for Karen Jashinsky as she nears the opening of O2 Max Fitness, her gym and hangout for teenagers. This 29-year-old entrepreneur just completed her MBA and is now able to devote her full attention to launching her business. However, finding startup capital and securing the right location continue to be her biggest challenges.
Initially planning to finance most of the costs with an SBA loan, Jashinsky has changed her strategy. "Because of the long-term vision to expand on a national basis and the investor interest in this opportunity to target the untapped teen fitness market, we wanted to make sure we were working with the right investors and the right financial infrastructure for long-term growth," she says. At press time, Jashinsky was finalizing various VC, angel and real estate investment deals.
Jashinsky also ran into a bit of a snafu while location hunting--having to submit architectural plans to local officials can be a laborious and time-consuming task. Consequently, as of press time, it didn't seem likely that she would have her location ready for the planned August opening. The grand opening has been pushed to late fall, but part of her August launch is still on schedule--she'll debut her program on a smaller scale at the Los Angeles gym where she currently trains clients. Under the O2 Max brand name, she'll incorporate fitness classes and workshops for teens. "We'll do cross promotions with tutoring companies, schools, sports leagues and other local businesses," says Jashinsky. One such offering involves a recent partnership with The Princeton Review. Because "health and wellness are so closely tied with academic performance," O2 Max and the Review will host an on-site tutoring and study center, she says.
She also changed architects to meet a tighter deadline. Through her college network, Jashinsky found a replacement who has architectural talent as well as a passion for her vision of healthy teens.
Despite a few setbacks, Jashinsky is committed to seeing her vision come to fruition. Find out more about the O2 Max launch in the December issue.