Arnab Raychaudhuri is an engineer, tech entrepreneur, and former field organizer for the Obama campaign. He is passionate about fitness and is currently working to revolutionize the virtual fitness industry with his company, ZOMO Fit.
Arnab was an engineer living in New York City when the pandemic hit. He noticed local gyms quickly took to running live Zoom classes to help keep things alive while they were shut down. This gave him the initial idea to create a platform--specific to the fitness industry--using his tech background. He created Zomo Fit, a platform which, among many other things, now gives customers access to every single instructor at SoulCycle for $34 classes. He believes that virtual fitness is an $8 billion opportunity that is projected to increase to $60 billion in the next couple of years.
Prior to jumping into entrepreneurship though, an opportunity with his friends came up to work for a then, relatively unknown Senator Obama. He later hustled hard to later land a job in his administration ("I took it as a challenge!") and learned the in's and out's of lobbying and getting things done on the Hill. And it isn't pretty!
He states, "What I learned quickly from being in government is that it's capitalistic, and the country is very capitalistic . . . which is great for entrepreneurs and people starting out. It's a great opportunity creator. But for IHRSA or other trade associations out there . . . the dollars win. For example, the folks that have a lot of lobbying money, they can obviously control what bills kind of get out there. Unfortunately, I think there's a lot of kind of dirty money around. In terms of lobbying, it's about getting as many signatures as possible to the Hill and getting a champion on the Hill to back up a bill and make sure there's money behind it to incentivize that Senator or Congressperson to push it really hard. They need to have some kind of incentive."
"Really what it comes down to . . . in terms of politics and money, is that they need to get reelected, and that's also about how much money you can raise to get reelected. It's like they're all running their own small businesses. Let's say the association can put in more money for someone's campaign . . . that is a driver for these guys. Like it or not, unfortunately, money has to be behind whatever bill you push forward. It can't just be for the 'common good' because there's a lot of common good things out there, but the ones that have the most money behind it? Those are the ones that get the most attention and are pushed forward."
In this episode, Pete and Arnab also discuss:
1. How he managed the transition from engineering to working in politics with Obama's administration.
2. How the fitness industry can and should leverage lobbying and other efforts to more aggressively push forward bills and initiatives.
3. Long-term view on virtual fitness and its potential growth.
Other episodes you'll enjoy around virtual fitness:
- Flexit: https://www.halotalks.com/episode-320-austin-cohen-founder-flexit-second-interview/
- Burnalong: https://www.halotalks.com/daniel-freedman-ceo-and-founder-of-burnalong/
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