🧘 Mindbody + ClassPass = Super App

The Hustle

In July, Wally Funk was crowned as the oldest-ever person to fly to space, at 82. On Wednesday, 90-year-old William Shatner beat her record. At this rate, one might expect to see a 98-year-old lift off come February.

Today’s rundown:

  • Booking Behemoth: Why Mindbody + ClassPass = the perfect fitness match.
  • Green Leaf Blowers: Can California’s landscapers still make money with electric equipment?
  • Meowijuana: The cool AF business that wants to get your cat high.

Let’s do it.

The big idea
lifting weights

Mindbody’s acquisition of ClassPass is a bet on in-person fitness bouncing back

Few businesses have had to sweat out the pandemic like the fitness industry.

The US fitness market lost $20B in 2020, with 22% of fitness facilities closing permanently, and 1.5m fitness workers losing their job.

But Mindbody, which helps drive bookings for fitness studios, is doubling down on recovery. The firm acquired ClassPass for an undisclosed amount in an all-stock deal, and secured a $500m round of funding for the joint entity, per TechCrunch.

The move has been compared to Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram…

… because it brings together 2 complementary platforms:

  • Mindbody offers software for studios to manage bookings, along with a consumer-facing app where users can book classes (think OpenTable for fitness studios)
  • ClassPass offers a monthly subscription that gives subscribers access to a fixed number of classes across a range of studios

Joining forces will strengthen both products, and should lead to benefits for studios and consumers:

  • Mindbody will give ClassPass subscribers access to a wider selection of studios
  • ClassPass will help Mindbody’s customers fill more classes

But are people ready to return to the gym?

Mindbody and ClassPass claim their data shows pent-up demand for in-person fitness — and recent research suggests they’re on to something:

  • In June, traffic at gyms recovered to 83% of pre-pandemic levels
  • Meanwhile, searches for digital fitness have fallen since peaking in April 2020, per Jefferies Research

While the delta variant may impact traffic for the immediate future, the acquisition (and funding) will allow the new super app to thrive once consumers feel comfortable sweating in public again.

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SNIPPETS

Retail Dive explores how retailers use mannequins to reflect their brand, including a commitment to inclusivity. #ecommerce-retail

Researchers say growing crops beneath solar panels is a win-win. The panels supply power and prevent intense sun and heat from stressing out plants. #clean-energy

Oh, like in “Black Mirror”: A US firm put guns on robot dogs, debuting the tech at the Association of the United States Army’s annual conference. What could go wrong? #emerging-tech

Don’t put a ring on it: A UK judge sided with a woman who said her neighbor’s Ring device violated her privacy by recording video and audio around her property. #privacy

A Tennessee woman is suing the Bitcoin mine next door as neighbors complain the noise from cooling fans is intolerable. #fintech-cryptocurrency

Rumor has it: Google’s next event on Oct. 19 will dish on the Pixel 6, but some think it’ll also reveal foldable devices. #big-tech

Green Landscaping
leaf blower

Can California’s landscapers still make money with electric equipment?

Sleeping in’s natural enemy, the gas-powered leaf blower, is on its way out in California.

A new state law bans the sale of small off-road engines (SOREs) by 2024 — or as deemed feasible by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

There are 16.7m SOREs in California…

… and they’re often noisy and cause pollution. For example, running a leaf blower for 1 hour emits as much smog as driving 1.1k miles, per CARB.

The state has earmarked $30m to help professional landscapers get new equipment, per the Los Angeles Times.

But is that enough?

Daniel Mabe, founder and president of the American Green Zone Alliance (AGZA) told The Hustle that commercial electric models are 35%-45% more expensive, on average, than gas.

But AGZA teaches companies how to best use, store, and maintain equipment, plus how to safely handle, repurpose, and recycle lithium batteries. And with the right know-how, you can save in the long run.

Here’s a savings example:

  • A high-end 2-stroke gas leaf blower costs ~$1.20/hour (gas, 2-stroke oil, and preventive and repair maintenance)
  • A comparative electric blower costs ~$0.18-$0.20/hour to use at full power (swap gas and oil for electricity)

Gas blowers are more powerful than even the best electric blowers.

“But what we have found… is you don’t need hurricane-force winds to maintain acres of property,” Mabe said.

If it doesn’t rain much — like in many parts of California — you can get down to $0.08-$0.15/hour, plus employees don’t have to breathe in fumes.

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Cool AF Business
Meowijuana cat

Meowijuana wants to get your cat high

WHAT’S THE DEAL?

  • Catnip, a type of plant that’s part of the mint family, gets cats high through a chemical called nepetalactone.
  • In the US, ~31.8m households own cats, and $42B was spent on pet food and treats in 2020.
  • Meowijuana packages catnip like weed and sells everything a cat owner needs, from treats and toys to accessories.

Is your cat stressed out from a long day of scratching everything in the home office? Meowijuana is looking to take the edge off with a line of catnip products packaged like weed.

The company’s hilarious packaging is marketing gold

You can get pre-rolled joints, a jar of buds, or a pill bottle for your high-strung 4-legged friend.

Customers (or their cats at least) seem to be loving it.

Meowijuana’s parent company, SmarterPaw LLC, just made the Inc. 5000 list for the 2nd year in a row, with 789% 3-year revenue growth.

And there’s something for everyone (with paws)

The company introduced a spinoff for dogs — Doggijuana.

With 5-star reviews like “Considering sending my fur baby to rehab,” it would seem this stuff is potent. Have at it, Mittens.

(Have an idea for a Cool AF Business story? Tell us about it here.)

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TRENDS

$951k/mo from selling rubber ducks…

Are you an aspiring entrepreneur looking for the right market to jump into?

Here are 3 emerging markets our Trends.co analysts uncovered this week:

  • 🎨 Sensory art (think finger painting) is designed to engage and develop children’s senses. Companies selling rubber ducks ($951k/mo), fidget poppers ($479k/mo), and sand and water tables ($329k/mo) are just 3 examples of products you can launch.
  • 👀 Claw clips are back. Amazon searches are up 368% over the last 90 days, according to Jungle Scout, and we found one 4-pack that generates $446k/mo.
  • 🛰️ The satellite industry is moon bound, and you don’t have to be the 1st- or 2nd-richest person to get in. We found accessible opportunities in data, branding, and media.

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AROUND THE WEB

💀 On this day: Since 1999, automakers have installed child-safety seat anchors in all passenger seats. On this day in 2004, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration decided that needn’t apply to hearses as children don’t ride in them.

🎵 Useful: Use Midomi to identify a song by singing or humming a few bars.
🚇 Wow: The MTA shows off construction on a terminal that will bring Long Island trains to Grand Central Station in NYC for the 1st time. All of this is happening 150 feet below Park Ave.

🧾 How to: Did you start a side hustle this year? Then this Forbes guide to doing your freelancer/gig worker taxes might come in handy.

🖌️ Chill out: Check out Google Arts and Culture’s Paint With Music. Just choose a relaxing scene and an instrument, then draw lines with your mouse to compose.

🐄 Haha: And now, a helpful cow offers directions.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

(A roundup of our best reads from the last couple weeks…)

🤵 The family that owns a share of the $7B James Bond franchise

🧳 Why airlines need business travel to return

👶 Alexa, how is tech changing baby names?

📊 From Excel spreadsheet to $5B IPO: The story of NerdWallet

🧑‍🏫 The wild problems TikTok is causing at school

Shower Thoughts
  1. “If you simply carry a mug with you, you’ll look like you belong anywhere.”
  2. “If a sloth clapped, it would always sound sarcastic.”
  3. “With every company making their own streaming services and filling them with ads, people are probably going to start preferring to buy DVDs of shows again.”
  4. “People stereotype cooking as ‘women’s work’ but if you ask them to think of a head chef they’ll picture a man.”
  5. You put a paper in a folder to prevent it from folding.”
via Reddit
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