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Web Startup Can Help You Plan Your Free Time

Web Startup Can Help You Plan Your Free Time
Image credit: Photography by Steven Laxton
Dancing queen: Classtivity's Payal Kadakia.

Based in New York City
Number of employees: seven
Page views per month: 30,000
Unique visitors per month: 10,000
Average time spent on site:
5 minutes, 30 seconds

What It Is
Looking for a lunchtime yoga class? Want to take a crack at stand-up and unleash your inner Chris Rock?

Classtivity.com can help. This searchable listing for classes offers times, locations and the ability to book through the site. Launched in June in New York City, the site lists some 4,000 offerings in the Big Apple--from skating and tennis instruction to beer brewing--with hundreds being added each week.

How It Started
While working at Warner Music Group in New York, Payal Kadakia, a lifelong dancer, was interested in taking a ballet class but couldn't find one at the time she wanted. "I thought, This is ridiculous. This needs to be solved. There are so many classes being offered at this very moment, and I can't find one of them," she recalls. She left Warner in spring 2011 to start her business and was accepted into startup accelerator TechStars' New York location early this year.

Why It Took Off
Classtivity works much like OpenTable does for restaurants, offering consumers the convenience of online booking and--perhaps more intriguing--giving new businesses an opportunity to be discovered and build a client base. Classes range from $10 drop-in yoga sessions to $200 high-end cooking and creative workshops. The site seamlessly integrates the schedules that studios, gyms and other businesses run via proprietary solutions and back-end technologies.

Kadakia estimates that by the end of the year, the site will list sessions from 3,500 providers in New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco, mostly acquired by word-of-mouth. Among the bigger accounts that use the site are Flywheel Sports, Dance New Amsterdam and New York Health & Racquet Club.

The Business Case
Classtivity takes a cut of class fees booked through the site (usually 10 to 15 percent). It's also exploring how to broker online retail sales related to bookings; for example, reserve a yoga class, and the site might suggest a mat or tank top to purchase. (Kadakia declined to disclose revenue.)

What's Next
After the expansion to Los Angeles and San Francisco, Kadakia plans to move into Chicago and Boston. Classtivity recently unveiled a social networking component that allows users to create profiles, recommend and rate classes and follow others who have similar taste in activities. The idea, Kadakia says, is to keep people engaged and help them discover new outlets for their passions. 

Gwen Moran is a freelance writer and co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Business Plans (Alpha, 2010).

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This article was originally published in the November 2012 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Lesson Learned.

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