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This is the story of how a wet towel in a gym bag helped create a tech startup in Cape Town, South Africa. It’s also the tale of how I, Mark Fawzy, used my deep passion for health, fitness, and entrepreneurship to change the way fitness facilities keep their members moving and their businesses going strong.

How it started
When a wet towel went rogue in my gym bag back in 2014, the soft pages of a workout logbook containing six months’ worth of carefully logged workout information disintegrated into an indecipherable nothing. In a fit of frustration, the idea for BoxChamp (now Octiv) was sparked and before I knew it, a workout tracking app was born.

I’m pleased to say that my simple concept has come a long way and is making a big impact around the world. Whilst the platform still helps members monitor and track their training, it’s since evolved into something far greater. It’s also come to be a powerful customer relationship management tool that ensures studio owners and trainers can keep doing what they do best – building communities and helping people stay fit, active, and healthy.

How it’s going
Today, Octiv is an all-in-one gym/studio management platform that takes care of all admin. This includes sign-ups, payments, scheduling, workout tracking, communications (CRM), lead management, and so much more. The Octiv mobile app, which gym members can use for free, is the best in its category in terms of UI/UX and design, providing users with the most delightful digital experience out there.

The app isn’t all that’s grown, our Octiv team has too. From one man with an idea to an exceptional team of people, the Octiv family is made up of passionate individuals who want nothing more than to help fitness studios thrive and grow. Our culture and our people remain two of the things I am most proud of.

Since Octiv started providing services for gyms back in 2014, it’s helped save gym owners both time and money through a proven SaaS solution. This has led to successful partnerships with both established brands (including 50+ studio franchises), as well as many small local gyms.

At the start of 2022, Octiv now serves:

Happy Octiv clients include CrossFit boxes, yoga, Pilates, boxing, functional fitness, EMS, dancing studios, small commercial gyms, and more.

The evolution of the platform
I launched BoxChamp with a very specific market in mind – CrossFit Boxes. Within its niche, the product was well received because of its ease of use and ability to manage workouts, signups, scheduling, payments, and more. As time marched on, I noticed a compelling demand for other gym and studio types to enjoy the same functions. As it turns out, other markets could also use Octiv’s tools under different brands to better serve the members of those communities, while improving and streamlining their fitness businesses.

Having started with CrossFit boxes, we had all the tools in place that were needed for the boutique gym/studio business model. All we needed now was a new brand to fit within the broader fitness category. I soon realised that although proudly South African and passionate about CrossFit, it was time for true scale and a greater impact if we were to serve the larger boutique fitness community beyond their borders.

BoxChamp makes way for Octiv
The Octiv name is built on the ethos of health and fitness for all. The word “Octa”, signifies inclusivity, abundance, and the all-encompassing nature of an all-in-one software platform. A nod to the word “active”, signifies our “why” – to make more people around the world healthy and active, by making the boutique fitness industry more accessible to all. In January of 2021, it was settled and BoxChamp officially became Octiv!

Since the beginning, my goal has been to help gym owners run more effective, automated, and streamlined businesses, allowing them to grow while focussing on what they truly love – people and fitness. Through the platform, we’ve been able to reach and impact more people than ever before, empowering business owners and those who head to their favourite studios and facilities in the name of bettering themselves.

Looking ahead

Things have never looked brighter for Octiv. As a fully comprehensive solution for boutique fitness studios around the world, the sky is the limit. Our current goal? To remain on top by enhancing the experience of being a member at the studios found on the platform. This will be done through payment innovations and helping studios continue to put their best foot forward, all whilst ensuring that we remain a meaningful part of an ecosystem that connects gym members with studios wherever they go. 

What’s next for Octiv? Further global expansion. We’re working on growing our footprint so that we can take our current studio count of 500 to 5000. As it stands, there’s already so much we can be proud of. In just a few years, we’ve managed to achieve many of the same successes as incumbent players like Glofox, TeamUp, Zenplanner, and even the industry mammoth, Mind Body, placing Octiv in the same league as all of the above. We do, however, believe that our platform surpasses many of our predecessors in terms of quality and comprehensiveness, so we can’t wait to see what the next few years bring.

As the future unfolds, our team is incredibly excited for the journey that lies ahead. To our loyal clients and users throughout the years, thank you. Your support is everything to us. To everyone who has been part of our progress so far, stay tuned for the next installment of the Octiv story, it’s sure to be an incredible one.