Payal Kadakia

Today’s guest is Payal Kadakia, founder and executive chairman of ClassPass. Payal started ClassPass in 2011 a business that was born out of her love for dance, which she has been doing since the age of 3.

Prior to founding ClassPass, Payal worked as a consultant at Bain & Company and in Warner Music Group’s Digital Strategy and Business Development Group. However in 2010 Payal realised that her two lives (working at Warner and running her dance class side hustle) weren’t gelling and she wasn’t being authentic to either. It was the push she needed to dedicate herself to ClassPass full time.

Fast forward to today and ClassPass is a monthly fitness membership program worth over $500m. It lets you take classes at different studios and gyms in your local area. It's one membership and with that you get credits that you can use to go to a spin class, a yoga class or a dance class for example, anytime and anywhere.

We chat with Payal about:

  • How learning to dance at a young age gave her a way of life and a way to think about the challenges that lay ahead.

  • Why there were crickets when they initially launched ClassPass.

  • How she brought her team in and the importance of passionate generalists (in the beginning).

  • How to hand over the CEO reins and move into a new role in the company.

  • If she could run any business, what it would be.

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