Let’s meet Startup, The Yoke:
In a few sentences, tell us what your start-up is all about!:
The Yoke is the easiest way to find affordable yoga near you.
The yoga industry is broken on all sides. The “studio” business model is outdated and unprofitable, known for huge overhead and bad tech. Teaching jobs are so competitive that most teachers can’t even secure minimum wage work. On the flip side, many would-be students are priced out of classes that are unnecessarily expensive. The Yoke cuts out the middleman (studios) and empowers teachers to take greater control over their careers.
When was your startup founded? And what stage is your startup currently at?:
April 2015 Public Beta
Who are your competitors? And what is your start-up’s competitive advantage over them?:
Fitmob came and went. Now there’s Vint, Taviti and MoveWith. Nobody seems to have real traction yet. Three reasons we’re different and better. (1) Narrow focus on yoga and deep domain expertise. I’m a yoga “insider” with real credibility and empathy. (2) Our commitment to free & donation-based yoga. We’re the only ones proudly entering this market from the bottom. (3) We’re focused on building a community, not just a utility.
Let us know a bit about your team, who are the key team members and what is their role?:
I’m Bill Loundy, an experienced product manager, hacker, and community organizer. I build tech to solve problems and inspire and move people. I worked as a Field Organizer for Obama in 2008. After graduating from Stanford, I went straight to marketplace startups. I’ve held leadership roles at two professional services marketplaces: Axiom (for lawyers) and Contently (for journalists & writers).
As with yoga, these industries are marked by lopsided labor markets: not enough jobs and far too many skilled workers. As a Product Manager at Couchsurfing, I was responsible for brand loyalty, community engagement, and growth.
More importantly, I’m an active yoga and meditation student and teacher. It has required intense perseverance and dedication to develop the confidence to lead yoga classes. I’m constantly improving as a teacher and my teaching helps people to live happier and healthier lives.
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