A fitness-focused tech company founded in New York City has announced that it is opening a new office in downtown Missoula with plans to hire up to 50 employees.
The salaries for the jobs will be between $30,000 and $150,000 for both non-technical and technical roles. The company's website says it is hiring everything from front-end engineers to sales associates in Missoula.
"It's basically Netflix for fitness," explained ClassPass CEO Fritz Lanman. "You pay a monthly subscription and visit any of the gyms or studios in the network. Sometimes you want yoga, and sometimes you want to get a weight lift in. You can mix and match. I call it the future of fitness."
The company hasn't launched in Montana yet, but in places like New York City users can choose from thousands of different gyms. The company will be located in the Millenium Building near Caras Park, and the first employee starts Jan. 8.
Lanman married his wife in the Bitterroot Valley at the Daly Mansion and is familiar with the area. He said people like Michael FitzGerald, the CEO of Missoula tech company Submittable, convinced him there's a talented workforce here.
"We're not like Amazon looking for a second headquarters," Lanman said. "We're a 200-person company that's really promising and that's super fun and will be a good culture fit for Missoula. Our growth is modest. But Missoula definitely has a big enough population to support our labor needs."
The company hired a professional location strategy firm called Newmark Knight Frank to conduct an extensive national search for its third North American location. The company's executive team visited Missoula and met with commercial brokers, various tech businesses and government officials.
The visit was coordinated by the Missoula Economic Partnership and the Montana Governor's Office of Economic Development.
"When Missoula made the short list, I was ecstatic as I had personally experienced the abundant active lifestyle opportunities in the area and the dynamic and unique character of the city and community,” Lanman said. “We wanted to find a city that was a fit for our mission and culture; a place that offers an active lifestyle and access to inspiring experiences, a progressive mindset, forward thinking civic leaders and a respected University. Missoula checks all those boxes and more.”
Jenni Graff, the MEP's economic development director, said ClassPass has a sophisticated growth strategy, a global reach and recently closed a $70 million Series C fundraising round led by Singapore-based investment company Temasek.
"And, they just happen to have a disruptive technology in an industry where Missoula excels — the health and wellness technology sector,” Graff added.
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ClassPass says it introduces new users to fitness by merchandising and showing users more than one million fitness classes available through its 8,500 studio and gym partners. Through the ClassPass app, users can find new classes nearby or watch videos of classes and also network with other fitness buffs. ClassPass calls itself "the world's largest fitness network."
The new operations in Missoula will support the expansion of the company's customer service, engineering, internal sales and account management teams.
"Montana is quickly becoming a hub of innovation and our business-friendly climate enables us to welcome new high-tech companies, like ClassPass, to Montana,” said Governor Steve Bullock. “I personally spoke with ClassPass during their deliberations and I'm excited they chose Missoula. To have another high-performing team call our state home and share in our excellent quality of life is indeed an incredible opportunity."
Chris Volney, one of the executives for Newmark Knight Frank that led the location search, said Missoula offers ClassPass the opportunity to become an employer of choice in a smaller, highly-educated town where the culture matches the company mission of promoting healthy and active lifestyles.
"The high quality of life in Missoula and the quality workforce will be a perfect fit for the ClassPass team as they put down roots and grow in the community," Volney said.
ClassPass was ranked the second fastest growing company in North America by Deloitte, a national consulting firm, and boasted 46.5 percent revenue growth the previous year. Lanman, the CEO, credits the growth to business model changes, expansion and new inventory offerings.
“ClassPass’ decision to choose Missoula is a strong testament to our growing tech sector," said MEP President and CEO James Grunke. "We could not be more enthusiastic about this announcement and ClassPass’ future in Missoula."
ClassPass currently has offices in New York, San Francisco, Sydney and London. The company was founded in 2013 by dancer Payal Kadakia. Using ClassPass, members can find a variety of yoga, cycling, Pilates, barre, running, strength training, dance, sports and other types of classes.
The ClassPass app uses proprietary technology to "surface" the classes to users and allows them to "seamlessly book" the experience, according to the company's website.
A listing of open positions in Missoula can be found on the ClassPass careers page at classpass.com/about/careers#careers.
The company says it offers flexible scheduling, 401k retirement plans and vacation time.