Meet Rachel Koretsky, 23, the Founder and CEO for her startup upace. We talked to Rachel about the exciting new fitness app, and what it’s like to be an entrepreneur and leader in her career.
Maddie: What is upace?
Rachel: upace is a management mobile and online app to help individuals find the optimal time and resources to live a healthier lifestyle. The software will allow the university to analyze data that will assist in meeting campus needs. Our mission is to help students find fitness resources on campus at the right time to fit within their individual needs. In fact, that is how we created our name – find your pace.
M: Describe your role.
R: I am the founder and CEO of upace.
M: Where did you get the idea for the app? How did you get the idea off the ground?
R: When I was a student at American University, I grew frustrated with the wait times for machines at the fitness center and group classes that filled up quickly if I was not there far in advance. These inconveniences, along with trying to manage a busy schedule, interrupted my routine and in turn, I stopped going to the gym. I thought there had to be a better way.
The idea for upace started in my college apartment with a pen and paper. I worked closely with two Kogod School of Business Professors at American University who guided me through the process of creating a business plan and prototype. After I graduated, they suggested I reach out to universities for informational interviews to demonstrate how upace could add value to their fitness program. Over the course of a few weeks, I cold emailed universities and was able to schedule over 30 meetings. Through these initial conversations I was able to further develop the concept and identify how technology geared for fitness facilities can have a substantial impact. The strong response I got from these interviews was the deciding factor to go for it and build a company.
M: What stage are you in with the company currently?
R: We are in the beta and testing stage with the application. We are starting a pre-seed round of funding Spring 2016 to look for funding to reach the scalability and the growth desired.
M: What are your goals for the company?
R: We want universities and students throughout the United States and Canada to have access to upace. We want students to be able to work out when it is convenient for them.
M: What have been the biggest challenges and achievements you have faced with launching your own startup?
R: Our main achievement is when we know that our goal to have fitness meet convenience for students is reached. There is nothing better than hearing from users that the app is allowing them to find their own fitness pace. That alone is what makes it worth it for me.
Another achievement of 2015 is when upace was recognized on DC INNO’s: These 15 Women-led Startups are Changing DC Tech. It was truly an honor to make this list as a newly founded startup in the city. We hope that this means big things are in the future for upace!
Our biggest challenge is that we are a young team. This is terrifying for many clients as they worry that upace is only a school project and that will not have a long life span. However, we have been able to overcome this through in-person meetings and testimonials. In fact, many begin to realize the benefits in working with us because we understand the marketplace and fit in with the students on campus.
M: Describe your daily routine.
R: My morning routine always begins with checking emails and a quick test of the application to ensure everything is working properly, all from the comfort of my bed. Afterwards always comes breakfast, which typically consists of two eggs and some fruit. But, the rest of my day is never the same, which is the beauty of a startup. I frequently find myself in business development meetings, with clients, talking to my developers, and working with my fabulous team. And of course, I always find time to exercise. 🙂
M: What’s it like to work for yourself? What advice would you give to readers who want to become entrepreneurs?
R: I absolutely love working for myself and managing my team; however, it is not always easy. My first piece of advice is to build a team that you trust that believes in both you and the company. Second, you have to dedicate yourself to your team and idea. This is because you don’t have anyone looking over your shoulder to ensure you are working, you set your own schedule and most importantly have to follow it. With this- it is easy to get consumed with work- especially without a boss to tell you to go home. So remember, don’t overwork yourself and take 1 day a week to rejuvenate and have some fun (without checking any emails). I always have to remind myself to take a break and breath. And truly, that is when the creative juices start flowing again.
M: Since upace is a fitness app, does fitness play a big part in your life? If so, what are your favorite ways to stay fit?
R: Fitness is an important part of my life. I have a regular workout routine not only to stay fit, but to also manage stress. I enjoy anything from a cardio and weight lifting workout to a challenging barre pilates class. Some days a mind and body class will feel right and other days I just want to run. It is about listening to your body for each workout and finding the right fitness balance that works for you.
M: What is your go-to song on your workout playlist currently?
R: Latch by Disclosure has been the go to workout song for a while now!