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Struct Club

Creating. Cuing. Community

Creating. Cuing. Community

Amira Polack ’s Struct Club operates at the crossroads of technology and positive social impact.

Like all the best tech, Struct Club was born to solve a specific problem. It also addresses an issue that directly impacts fitness business growth, retention, and customer experience. Struct Club founder Amira Polack lit upon the issue as new indoor cycling instructor at Harvard’s fitness center. Shocked by the time-consuming class preparation process and finding no resources to improve efficiency, she developed a prototype to select, organize and integrate cues and playlists. Just four short years and numerous iterations later, Struct Club is the go-to tool for thousands of instructors and studios in more than 52 countries, leading millions of class experiences.

The daughter of a Philippine immigrant and Jewish New Yorker, Amira credits her multi-cultural upbringing with a strong influence on her development. She says that growing up in Los Angeles also influenced her eclectic array of extra-curricular activities—competitive dancing and swimming, musical theater, and symphonic oboe, as well as a strong interest in civic engagement and creating a positive social impact.

After earning her bachelor’s in public policy from Princeton, Amira was drawn toward the positive potential of technology innovation and entrepreneurship. “I don’t code,” she says, “[but] I’ve built my career where tech innovation and making a positive difference intersect by solving urgent problems for organizations and society at large. That nexus has been a common thread that grew out of my childhood pastimes.”

When Amira began her MBA at Harvard, she decided to teach indoor cycling. “I jumped into my very first certification course where a couple of hours were dedicated to learning about equipment set up, and another couple were dedicated to actually doing workouts,” Amira recalls. “But I had these nagging questions: How do we design these 45- to 60-minute experiences to set up our members for success? We were given a printout of an Excel table copied and pasted into a Word document as a tool to design classes, and I thought, there’s got to be an app for this, right?”

Even with Amira’s semi-professional music training and experience as a competitive dancer, athlete and thespian, class planning was a mammoth, time-sucking undertaking for a newbie teacher. “I spent 10 hours putting together the workout and playlist,” she remembers. “And, as much as you prepare, there can be dozens of students in class with real-time needs and levels of experience, athleticism, and comfort who require your full presence.”

Over the course of six months, Amira’s efficiency improved, and she established a following. Then, she left for a school trip.

Amira subbed out her classes to qualified teacher who pedaled their own singular tried-and-true sequence and playlist, but the students had become accustomed to variety and a different workout structure that flowed with the music. When Amira returned, only a scant 40% of her regulars remained. “My students liked the sub coach,” she recalls. “They even told me they had a more productive workout with the sub! But the structure of the workout, playlist, and interactivity were different. It wasn’t what they expected.”

That a business risks 60%+ of their members due to class design inconsistency is a serious problem and it sparked Amira’s entrepreneurial fire. “Struct Club’s value proposition is: quality control, consistency across different classes within a brand, customer engagement, conversion, and retention,” says Amira. “These are baseline terms that every business owner and operator needs to know. What I experienced even in my very early days as an instructor is that all these value points are undermined on a class-by-class basis when the workforce is creating classes from scratch—on unpaid time—every class, every day.”

To the Drawing Board

During her summer at Harvard, Amira inducted family, friends, and a grant from Harvard’s Rock Center for Entrepreneurship to discover if her pain points were shared by the broader industry. “As an entrepreneur, if you’re not solving a problem that people are willing to pay for, your business is not going to be viable in the long term,” she explains. Towards the end of her final semester, Amira incorporated Struct Club, retained legal counsel, opened a bank account, and got a running start upon graduation.

2018-19 were spent hiring the Struct Club team and launching the product and first subscription model. At the start of 2020, their debut class-builder platform was essentially a “direct-to-instructor application with a vision of being a business-to-business experience design platform.” When COVID shuttered studios, Struct Club had approximately 15,000 classes in their data base that members had designed in the app. So, the company developed a way to sell those classes direct-to-consumer while compensating the creators so people could work out at home and Struct Club could support its community. It quickly became clear, however, that the prime driver of their exponential sales were fitness professionals who wanted to save on prep hours and entrust professionals to design inspiring classes.

“We ultimately rolled this community-driven template library into our subscription, thereby increasing community value and opportunities to create, exchange and source classes in our platform,” Amira says. “It improved trust and engagement because people loved interacting with other folks, ideas, and content. We saw community members reaching out to each other, finding connection, promoting each other. Our instructors felt like we were agile and keen to support them.” Today, Struct Club’s primary purpose is to help studios, clubs, and their teams maximize their time and skills within a flexible and collaborative framework.

Core Strength

Supporting others and levelling the playing field are a large part of what drives Amira, and her ideals are cemented into Struct Club’s core values: Authenticity. Inclusion. Impact. She frequently speaks on podcasts and at conferences about inclusion, women’s entrepreneurship, social justice, and other issues on which she and her team have been consistently vocal.

“Every day we talk about pay equity, about who has the privilege of all the spare time in the world to plan classes unpaid and to pay for their own certifications, their own equipment…,” Amira says. “But who sits at the top leadership rungs? When we have obvious gaps, can we really be surprised when the people who walk into our fitness clubs aren’t as diverse as the general population?” The systemic inequity from in-studio representation to VC backing for women-founded companies “is on its way to being disrupted, but it’s not there yet and it has a very long way to go.” Amira plans on helping to lead the charge.

“There are a lot of urgent problems that really need our help and attention,” she says. “Support those who are mission-driven and interested in making an impact with their life hours. There are things that the world is calling upon us to do.” Struct Club is simply one tool that will help hard-working teachers and studios lead their clients towards greater health and wellbeing.

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