UNYTE: Yoga for everyone! launched its Companisto equity crowdfunding campaign, quickly raising over 101,470€ of its 200,000€ goal with the help of over 73 backers. Funding will be used to open the first UNYTE flagship studio in Berlin.
Additional funding will be tapped by several sources, including the initiators’ own investments, additional angel investors, and (for expansion over the medium term) by banks and family offices. “We want to motivate as many people as possible to invest in themselves through yoga & meditation, which may support them in achieving personal and professional success over the long term,” commented the Pixelpark founder, UNYTE CEO and founder and angel investor .
Seeking to establish UNYTE as a new yoga studio brand over the next 5 years, Paulus Neef and his team are targeting people who have yet accessed yoga. UNYTE will enable people to do yoga regardless of their age, flexibility, income, and sex. The company’s planned studios will be run by instructors who offer “clear and undogmatic classes, flexible opening hours, and affordable prices.” The team behind UNYTE consists of Berlin networking expert Yasmine Orth and respected yoga instructors Patrick Broome and Steph Jaksch.
Why Another Yoga Concept?
According to the campaign, to Neef yoga is not a fashion, but an essential part of his life:
“Through my personal experience, I know that yoga really enriches people’s lives, and I am aware of the challenges students and instruc- tors are facing. For this very reason, I believe that it is important to put a viable business concept with a high chance of success into practice and to make it available to the general public. UNYTE takes account of the needs of its students and instructors and has a good eye for detail, yet never loses track of the philosophy of yoga.”
UNYTE founder Neef founded his first company Pixelpark, a center of creativity, in 1991 and helped it achieve its IPO 8 years later, when the company had offices in as many as 16 countries and 22 cities. Pixelpark paved the way for the internet in Germany, with roughly its 2,000 employees, and was worth €3.5bn. Neef remains active in company building and as an angel investor in the areas of media, sustainability, and health. The founding shareholder and CEO of UNYTE, Neef leads the team and contributes his expertise and extensive network.
Just like many other successful businesspeople and urban residents, Neef uses yoga and meditation to wind down in stressful times. The same is true of Berlin networking expert Yasmine Orth, who has been part of the team led by Paulus Neef for six months.
Both Neef and Orth have dealt intensively with yoga as a business model, particularly focusing on whether yoga and meditation are mainstream. According to the campaign, several studies have answered this question in a clear, yet surprising way. While roughly 14 million Germans are interested in yoga and meditation, only 5.4 percent of these people practice yoga occasionally, and as few as 1.9 percent practice yoga regularly. UNYTE believes that this disconnect is due to the fact that yoga is not as easily accessible as it may seem: “people interested in yoga often find no suitable studio nearby, prices are relatively high, classes offered seem to focus too much on esotericism, and opening hours and offers are not as flexible as potential customers would like them to be.”
The interdisciplinary UNYTE team values the roots of yoga and hopes to translate these core values to modern urban life and work through its brand. The UNYTE yoga studio brand will also combine several advantages in the areas of marketing, design, pricing and business structure in the background, seeking to be the pioneer within the fast-growing yoga market, where there is currently no comparable service provider.
“Through my personal experience, I know that yoga really enriches people’s lives, and I am aware of the challenges students and instructors are facing,” said Neef. “For this very reason, I believe that it is important to put a viable business concept with a high chance of success into practice and to make it available to the general public. UNYTE takes account of the needs of its students and instructors and has a good eye for detail, yet never loses track of the philosophy of yoga.”
UNYTE plans to be operate at least 20 yoga studios with a total of approx. 40,000 members in Germany by 2020. The company’s studio 1 – the Berlin flagship studio – will be open seven days a week and 17 hours a day (from 6 a.m. through 11 p.m.), charge affordable prices, and be supported by state-of-the-art technology. The UNYTE yoga instructors will be the heart of UNYTE. Yoga instructors Steph Jaksch and Patrick Broome, yoga instructor of the German national soccer team, will supervise the training of yoga instructors and ensure its high quality.
“Customers of UNYTE will be offered an optimistic and undogmatic yoga style in a modern environment. Because of my work with the German national soccer team over the last eight years, the public im- age of yoga has changed completely. It no longer sounds like something connected with esotericism and alternative lifestyles. In fact, skeptics have noticed that real men can do yoga too,” added Broome.
Having taught yoga for almost 20 years, Broome is one of Germany’s most famous yoga instructors, known for teaching the German national soccer team. He trains yoga instructors around the globe, operates two yoga studios in Munich, and is the author of “Yoga für den Mann” [Yoga for Men], “Yoga für Alle” [Yoga for Everyone], “Mit Yoga Leben” [Living with Yoga], and “Spirituelle Krieger” [Spiritual Warriors].
UNYTE’s equity crowdfunding campaign on Companisto ends 26 September 2015. For more details, registered Companisto investors may click here.
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