OPTYO Uses Hybrid Marketing Approach To Help Fitness Brands Scale Fast

Founded by former athletes turned serial entrepreneurs, OPTYO has facilitated over one million product sales for startup brands in the fitness, sports performance and recovery spaces

OPTYO is a seven-year-old business development company that’s breaking the marketing mold and applying a hybrid ‘agency + brand accelerator’ approach to essentially move fitness, sports performance and recovery-focused brands from launch to scale to exit – quickly.

Founded by two former athletes turned serial entrepreneurs – Stephen Sorg and Andre Hale – OPTYO has seen 80% yearly growth, facilitated over one million product sales for clients and realized $43 million in client valuation. They have taken fitness and sports performance brands from unknowns to pro and college locker room staples in under a year.

How are they uniquely qualified to do so?

The duo has significant experience in developing their own start-ups toward exit, and after nearly eight years and 250+ successes with OPTYO, they bring a lot of experience and insights to the table.

“We’ve curated a team of experts that have scaled companies from launch to exit – all of whom have competed in sports from childhood,” said Sorg. “This unique combination gives us a deep pool of knowledge, a teamwork mentality and a relentless drive toward success.”

The two grew up on what they call a parallel journey, Hale playing tennis, soccer and surfing in his native country of Australia, and Sorg playing competitive soccer in the U.S. Both suffered injuries and had access to innovative recovery and training tools.

“As athletes, we’ve experienced many great products through the years and now have a passion to bring these valuable training and recovery tools to market in a big way,” said Hale. “We have a high level of personal interest, and we’ve created a roadmap and built an extensive network of trusted resources, partners and assets we can plug in at the right time.”

Hale earned a degree in International Economics and Sorg in Kinesiology and Exercise Science – both from San Diego State University. Both would then go on to develop several start-ups.

“We eventually came back together as athletes turned entrepreneurs, both with a desire to take our lived experiences and help sports and fitness-related companies that are primed for growth to achieve it,” said Sorg.

Authenticity Is Key

In terms of the challenges that start-up businesses face in the industry, they both point to connecting with consumers in an organic way.

“Home health options and ecommerce accessibility accelerated in 2020 changing the way consumers vet products,” said Hale. “Now if you are a brand in this lane, there is an expectation for you to have data, experts and an organic community of fans. It’s a challenge to develop this swiftly and on a limited budget.”

To that, OPTYO has an answer.

The company utilizes each brand’s existing resources to help accelerate growth through strategic deployment of marketing initiatives, as well as the introduction of strategic partnerships that range from supply chain to international distribution to even early-stage investments.

“It’s getting the right partners involved who have a passion for the product, versus paying them outright to be a talking head,” said Sorg.

PureTorque, an OPTYO client (credit: OPTYO/PureTorque)

They both point to a shifting environment as a challenge – and finding a balance between digital and human connection.

“In this swing after COVID, we are seeing more desire for human connection now,” said Hale. “Not that everyone is ditching their home gyms and running back to the club, but there is a desire to go back to the human side, and there are unique ways to create this community in a hybrid way.” 

They’ve worked with one client –  HEROBOARD – to launch studio-based workouts in partnership with existing studios in Miami.

“The space is simply rented and used for HEROBOARD-centric workouts so consumers can experience the product in a group fitness setting,” said Sorg.


Strategies To Scale

On the operations side, Hale says many start-ups get handcuffed by supply chain issues.

“Unit economics is a make-or-break thing, and the fluctuation in the cost of goods brings new challenges and will continue to do so,” said Hale. “It’s critically important for start-ups to partner with the right factory and find legitimacy to build out a supply chain that allows them to pay themselves, pay for inventory and begin to scale.”

“We run into many product companies that are paying three times per unit what they should be and are also dealing with shipping costs and long lead times,” Sorg explains. “We can help them pivot and get them on the right track.”

In the end, Sorg and Hale say their clients can expect a roadmap to an accelerated growth trajectory and partners to help them execute it.

“We can essentially remove the learning and testing period for companies because we come in having already experienced them,” he explains. “We look at the business from a 10,000-foot viewpoint, put into place the stepping stones and unpack the vision from day  one so the client knows where they can be in one to two years – which is typically large and fast growth.”

The post OPTYO Uses Hybrid Marketing Approach To Help Fitness Brands Scale Fast appeared first on Athletech News.


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