18 Feb Episode #319: Connor O’Loughlin, Co-Founder, Glofox
Pete Moore: This is Pete Moore wanted to officially announce the release of Time To Win Again: 52 Takeaways From Team Sports To Ensure Your Business Success. I wrote this book over the last year. I think you’re going to love it. Good to great meets wears Waldo pick ’em up for your team. Time to win in 2022. Happy to come to your club, your studio, your company, and talk about ways we can optimize business and win going forward. Go halo. This is Pete Moore halo talks YC on location Galway with my good fast friend Connor O’ Loughlin coming in from glow Fox, who is the sponsor of special drink at the time to win again, event in Dallas Connor. Welcome to the show.
Conor O’Loughlin: Thanks for having me, Pete.
Pete Moore: Awesome. And a quick shout out to Joanna Stahl who works at glow Fox has been a good friend of the square for a very, very long time. So kind of why don’t you start off and tell us how the brand name glow Fox came to be and the evolution of that, and then we’ll talk about you and the company.
Conor O’Loughlin: Sure. And I wish I actually had a, a, a better story to start on this. Isn’t this, isn’t a fun, fantastic and insightful story about how, how we chose a name for the company, but we, we started off as a professional services business. So I used to play professional rugby, and then I transitioned from rugby into, yeah, just back into tech. And we were working across a range of industries to doing basically tech development. Then we saw an opportunity to build a product in an industry that was very passionate about us. We, we saw a lot of, lot of opportunity there. And so we started building a gym management software that was providing services for a, a new type of fitness entrepreneur. And I think with the name we, we started with reserve view because it was more around, you know, the ability for these businesses to allow them to reserve bookings for classes and scheduling. And then, you know, we saw that, that we felt that the, the industry just lacked a really innovative technology leader and we wanted to, to replace the incumbents. So we, we changed the name and to lox, and it actually was one of just a few over a few points with the founders. And we were on a on a name generator and we wanted something that I had, six letters had a.com. It sounded like it was something global. So we landed on it and it just seemed to work.
Pete Moore: I like it. I like it. Well, there’s a funny story about a it was an investment bank at outta Minneapolis and there was a guy named Goldsmith and he wanted to set up a firm and it made it seem like he had a partner. So he basically sat down with a bottle of whiskey, opened up the dictionary and he got to the word AIO and he, and it became Goldsmith AIO there really, wasn’t a guy named AIO it just like that’s when he got to the, to the name in, in the, in the dictionary that he’s like, all right, this sounds pretty cool. So solo Fox. It is it, it is a catchy name, I think you know, a lot of companies you know, get, get a name and then stick with it. And it’s like, well, you know, you don’t know how to spell it, or, you know, they, I got to explain what it means or, you know, so on and so forth.
Pete Moore: So I like the name, I think it’s good. We could do like a glow drink which is kind of what we were trying to do at the at the trade show. And, and anybody who played team sports is you know, part of the square. Cause we really do believe that what you learn on the field is applicable to business. So, you know, when you start out with the professional services firm, you were you working with a specific health club or a gym client, and you said, Hey, like, I’m trying to Jerry rig what you’re currently doing. It’s just not working for us. So let’s, re-engineer this
Conor O’Loughlin: Exactly. Yeah, it was, it was in that, that professional services business, we were working across a range of industries. I, and then a customer who was running a fitness studio, a multidiscipline fitness studio was looking for an app for their members to book in for their classes and for, you know, be able to kind of manage your own memberships. And we, we set in, had a look at it and we said, obviously, you know, to price this individually for you going to be prohibitive. But there’s nothing really on the market that was really helping them really establish their own brand and establish their own connection with their members. And as we, we did more market analysis, we felt that there was a huge opportunity where the market was being underserved. The expectations of end members have changed. And these types of fitness business owners that were creating the, or engaged business models were kind of more pioneering and progressive. So we really lent into it. And we, we used that initial customer which was called pure fit out, out in Galway. As an early adopter, we, we got customers, we like went out in the streets and knocked on doors and, and found a ton of other customers that a lot, like then started builder from there. And then got off the island pretty quickly and got into the us market to really kind of test our, our, our product market fit there. And so just really evolved.
Pete Moore: Yeah. So when you look, you know, you’re a rugby player, so you probably don’t see many things that intimidate you. So, you know, when you looked at the us market and you saw the incumbents there you know, what gave you the right or, you know, the pathway to say, Hey, look, I know you guys are doing a nice job. I know you got venture capital, you got growth equity, but, you know, I got something here that I built, you know, to manage and solve the frustrated of these clients. I get it. And you’re going to get your market share. I’m going to get my market share. I might take some of from you, you know, but I feel confident that I built a platform that can, you know, punch against you.
Conor O’Loughlin: Yeah, yeah, no, it’s, it’s good. Good question. And, and I think like with us, we, we went to the us because we had a very narrow focus on the type of business that we wanted to serve. So we actually went really uncomfortably, narrow. We said, this is exactly the type of business model. We only have our guardrails in fitness. We, we don’t serve any outside and out. And even within that, we were around these businesses that were, you know, trying to engage your members to get them back in using the services kind of really established a very strong brand identity with them. So for us, it was around really speaking to that type of customer, creating a very clean, elegant forum that was modern, that wasn’t overly complex. It was very intuitive, easy to use. And it came back to those frustrations, like you saw in those frustrations, that, that you’re talking about the frustrations around acquiring new members, streamlining operations, and giving their members and exceptional experience that retains them. So that kind of discipline of focus of, of what our ideal customer profile looked like. And the, the discipline of keeping to that and hiring people in the industry that knew it, and then really just positioning the business as look, our service and our place in the world is building successful fitness businesses that look like this. And we use technology to enable that. So I think they were, are the, the things that were core at the outset, and they’re still, you know, they’re still really embedded in our DNA and what we’re about.