How An Ecuador-Based Fitness Startup Builds Community Using Chat

Based in the coastal city of Guayaquil, Ecuador, here’s how this mother-daughter duo is building a community-focused health, fitness, and wellness platform with Stream’s free Maker Account.

Camila Landivar says that her mom, Paula, has always had a magnetic personality. In her work as a fitness instructor, she’s not only able to motivate people to do one more pushup, but also she inspires them to follow a more holistic and healthy lifestyle outside of the gym.

That’s why in early 2020, Camila and her mom invested in a fitness space in their hometown of Guayaquil, Ecuador. The idea was to create a gym focused on improving the lives of women through fun workouts, positivity, and community. But Guayaquil was hit hard in the early days of the pandemic, and opening up a physical workout center was out of the question for the foreseeable future. “All of my mom’s customers were left without workouts during this time,” says Landivar. “We had to reinvent ourselves for the digital world — and fast.”

Camila set up an Instagram account so her mom could livestream workouts, and was surprised at how popular the classes became, sometimes having upwards of 120 women tuning in. Clearly, there was a market for an online digital platform, and the idea for Alive Fitness was born.

Here’s why this mother-daughter duo decided to use Stream’s free Maker Account to get their product off the ground, and why in-app messaging is a vital component.

Why did you want to build your own platform instead of continuing to use Instagram to livestream workouts?

Camila Landivar: We made the decision to create our own website because we needed to host more people. On Instagram, it was old-school the way we had to collect payments and keep track of our customers. It was time-consuming and difficult to manage our users.

We recently launched the new Alive Fitness website. The main goal is to be able to reach vastly more people and to provide a user-friendly experience.

How does in-app chat help build the Alive Fitness community?

Chat is the main driver of our community — it’s very active during the workouts (my mom even uses it to communicate and motivate her students while teaching). One of the biggest successes of the Alive community is that users feel they can connect even though they can’t exercise together like they used to do. There’s no way we could build a livestream platform without chat functionality.

What excited you about integrating Stream’s Chat API into Alive Fitness?

When researching in-app chat API solutions for our new platform, we sought the same quality of communication tools that we had on Instagram. We loved Stream Chat’s slick UI design and features such as reactions, threads and replies, and emojis. Stream affords us the opportunity to maintain the quality of chat that we had on IGTV.

We also liked how the chat saved all of the real-time comments. It’s particularly helpful if users ask for specific fitness requests (think: legs, arms, or abs!), which helps my mom tailor her future workouts.

What is your future vision for Alive Fitness?

My mom’s approach to fitness is having a fit mind, a fit body, and a fit heart, and she believes that you exercise for happiness and well-being. Being healthy isn’t just one hour of your workout — it’s the rest of the 23 hours that matter most. This message resonates with a lot of people. This is our mission. We hope that the Alive Fitness platform helps us share this message with a wider audience.

In the future, we will expand from just offering workouts to also offering other health-focused services, such as forums around mental wellbeing, cooking healthy food, and more.

Our users may join Alive Fitness because they want to lose weight. But they’ll stay on for our engaged community.

Ready to build with Stream? Apply to see if your project or startup qualifies for Stream’s free Maker Account.