Lauren Foundos spent a decade working on Wall Street institutionally trading US Treasury Bonds. It was a high stakes, high stress job that she excelled at. But as her hours became more demanding, her ability to fit a morning workout into her day became increasingly difficult. That was a problem for Lauren, a lifelong athlete, and two-time, all-American field hockey player, who has always relied on working out to stay focused and grounded. Her solution? Lauren started taking her clients to work out with her prior to their evening events. Before she even knew what was happening, the concept for an innovative startup she didn’t intend to create was born, and now FORTË is revolutionizing the fitness industry.
In terms of how Lauren approached working out for herself, she explained, “I was self-motivated and steered clear of studios.” But as the accidental founder started formulating her idea – a way to give busy people like her a new and unique access channel to fitness – she tried some out and “was immediately hooked by the energy and unspoken camaraderie within the studio classes.” Between these first-hand experiences and forging relationships with people in the fitness industry, Lauren came to the conclusion that launched what would become her technology-meets-fitness business, FORTË.
“What seemed so obvious wasn’t being done,” Lauren shared. “Studios wanted to offer ‘streaming services,’ but it’s costly, and streaming is not their strength; it’s a completely different business.” It was a hole she was ready to fill with her innovative solution… a subscription-based digital platform that lets users stream live and on-demand boutique fitness classes from studios worldwide directly to their go-to devices.
In late 2015, after securing initial backing from friends and family, Lauren hired a team of developers to engineer the powerful heart of FORTË. She then landed a handful of premiere boutique studios and top trainers who were willing and excited to have her hardware and software installed in their facilities. This would enable their classes to be streamed, live and on-demand, directly to the FORTË platform. Lauren was off an running and has not stopped since.
Over the last two plus years, Lauren and her FORTË team have dedicated themselves to delivering a cutting edge fitness experience that makes working out at home (or anywhere) a viable, exciting option. Described as “a Netflix-style hub of leading boutique fitness studio classes,” FORTË gives users access to a library of content via their smartphone, laptop, iPad or TV. After a class streams live it then goes in their on-demand library for continued consumption.
It is extremely fulfilling, especially when you are building a company that is improving the quality of others’ lives.
FORTË currently has a robust roster of elite coaches in all fitness disciplines and over 20 studios from NYC to Salt Lake City on its platform. Last year, the fast-expanding company raised $1.3M in a pre-seed round that helped it begin to roll out technology to offer users interactive and real-time fitness tracking. FORTË is now working to close its seed round of funding of $2M+ in an effort to make its user experience fully immersive, social and interactive.
Of her leap from Wall Street trader to award-winning founder and CEO, Lauren told us, “Starting your own company is much different than working for someone. That said, it is also extremely fulfilling, especially when you are building a company that is improving the quality of others’ lives. That’s what inspires me daily.”
EXCLUSIVE FORTË OFFER FOR WYSK READERS
Because of her company’s participation in our FearlessFest event, Lauren would love to offer all Women You Should Know readers a special rate of $79 for the year by entering FEARLESSFEST at checkout on FORTË’s site.