Umama Kibria: Founder, SweatPack
Why She Inspires Us: Umama is changing up the fitness game with her sweat and socialize app, SweatPack
Struggling with depression after college, Umama turned to fitness to find herself and learn better self-discipline. “As I was playing flag football, I questioned why the recreational sports team model didn’t exist in the fitness industry. Why couldn’t I join a weekly yoga, barre or CrossFit team?” she recalls. And like any true innovator, when she couldn’t find what she was looking for, she built it herself.
What inspired you to start SweatPack?
Depression. After college, they throw you out in the real world to figure out your passion, purpose, and relationships with no guidance. I used fitness as a way to find myself through discipline and consistent habits! It changed my life: I started my first business, traveled the world, attracted the love of my life, and learned to trust myself. I knew I had to share this gift of fitness with everyone! I worked out at over 400 gyms across the world, connected with over 100k people on social media, and hosted fitness events nationwide. I learned from my community that our main problem with fitness is staying consistent. As I was playing flag football, I questioned why the recreational sports team model didn’t exist in the fitness industry. Why couldn’t I join a weekly yoga, barre, or CrossFit team? So I built recreational fitness teams — SweatPacks.
What was it like creating an app? Did you already have a technical background to build off of or did you teach yourself?
There are so many no-code tools out there that help non-technical founders transform ideas into impact. We learned all the basics from ATL accelerator programs Goodie Nation, Atlanta Tech Village, Georgia State Main Street Entrepreneurship Seed Fund, Venture Atlanta, and Beyond the Game Network that were crucial in understanding how to build our technology.
What is something you’ve learned during your experience with SweatPack that surprised you?
Somehow we always come back to our original ideas. I came up with the original idea for SweatPack in January 2017 after getting laid off from my corporate job. But the market wasn’t ready yet. However, I was confident in my mission to help others get committed to fitness. It started with delivering content on social media, then events, then a marketing agency, but eventually, after listening to my customers (people and fitness professionals), I realized they wanted SweatPack.
What does the future of the fitness industry look like to you?
Now is the time for the fitness industry to transform. We know digital fitness is here to stay, but consumers will be searching for complimentary fitness services that fuel their mental, physical and social wellbeing. We know consumer demand will shift to unbundled gym memberships and corporate wellness will focus on employee social engagement and retention during remote work. We’ll be there to help them sweat and socialize— consistently.
What is your favorite sport to play or way to workout?
I love strength and conditioning training then executing with flag football! It’s fast, agile and team-oriented that fuels my work mentality.