Rachel Koretsky is the founder of upace, a fitness application that launched at Rutgers University in Fall 2015.
What inspired you to make the app?
My inspiration came from my frustration with my current recreation facilities, such as getting there, waiting a long time for group fitness classes or cardio equipment, and having gym crowds change on a daily basis. The idea came to me from this experience. After I graduated from college and spent a lot of time doing informational interviews with administrators and students from universities across the United States, I understood how this wasn’t just a problem from my university, but an issue most universities faced.
How does the upace app work?
You are able to download the app on Google Playstore, IOS store, or go to the website, upaceapp.com, to make an account. From there, you are able to see how crowded the gym is, the hours it’s open and closed, the group fitness class schedule, and make a reservation. Users can see what cardio equipment is available and make any advance reservations for those. You also get emails and push notifications of any reservations you have in the system.
What motivates you to get up everyday and keep working?
My main motivation is knowing I’m on a college campus with upace, hearing how students are utilizing the platform, and seeing the impact it has on them. That is my number one motivator because I like hearing reviews and the additional features students and administrators want to be added in. I love how we can further evolve upace to be something that has a greater effect on campuses, and develop the company to reach that level.
How has the response been from students who have used the upace app?
The response has been really wonderful. We got a lot of feedback last semester of how a lot of students had to check the times the gym was open. We added this feature in this semester and many gave positive feedback on how easily they could find the hours, especially during snow days this semester. The upace app shows you all the information, so you don’t have to trek all the way to the gym to see if it’s operational. Other students have commented how it has made recreational centers feel more comfortable, help reach fitness goals, sign up for a half marathon, get out of bed to workout after seeing open cardio equipments, etc. The name upace came from you finding your own pace. Testimonials show how students are able to find the optimal time for them to go to gym through the application.
What were you majors and minors?
My major was in Business Administration and I specialized in Entrepreneurship. I have a minor in Communications with a degree in Advanced Leadership Studies.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to start their own business or pursue an idea?
My first advice is before starting a company, do a round of informational interviews of people you don’t know, and get their reaction on the idea or the business you are trying to start. You have to really listen to what people have to say about the idea and where you can potentially take it. Having an open mind is the best thing you can do! Also, become expert in field you’re going into, so you can answer the tough questions and show why you are passionate about starting this company.
Do you think gender plays a role in business?
Gender definitely plays a role into it, but one of the best things about being a women in technology is that there has been a big push through social media and organizations who are there to support women in technology, to give you access to mentorship, capital, as well as professional development. For us, we’ve been getting involved in different organizations for the past couple of months, and they’ve been really helpful for us to grow the company.
Who are some of your role models?
I know this is cheesy, but my mom has been the biggest inspiration. Starting a business after graduation was very scary, and I wondered “Can I do this?” and “what if I fail?” Having her support, having a constant motivator who believed in me was the biggest influence. I am so lucky to have her as my role model and mentor, cheering me on every step of the way.
Watch this video to find out more! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_7nQrs39oo