Tanzanian startup OnilBox is a fitness tech platform with continental ambitions

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Tanzanian startup OnilBox has become the largest fitness technology platform in the country just over a year after launching, helping fitness and sports enthusiasts find multiple upscale locations to keep fit and have fun from.

Launched in April 2021, OnilBox provides users with access to a diverse network of listings, including private workout studios, gyms, studios, activities and events, that can be booked directly through its app. It also allows users to track progress, and health and fitness data trends.

Fitness businesses use the platform to fully transform their booking and user management system to go digital. They receive awareness trends and traffic to better understand the value of their services and how to push customised marketing campaigns based on the data trends provided. 

Predominantly operating in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, OnilBox has generated thousands of users in its year in existence, and the country’s largest network of fitness listings. It now wants to expand across Africa.

“The concept originated in the middle of COVID-19, from a garage CrossFit gym that users wanted to access as a means to escape crowds. Users would call to make bookings and as the calls kept increasing OnilBox built an app for users to book the space as opposed to calling. One space increased to four, gyms joined the network, and activities joined the network too, enabling OnilBox to offer the largest fitness experience in Tanzania and Zanzibar,” founder Natalino Mwenda told Disrupt Africa.

“We built four studios to inspire behavioural change of users, and to inspire the benefits of roaming across spaces accessed via an app. We later converted these studios to smart gyms controlled by Internet of Things (IoT) to inspire other studios to join the network and convert their spaces to be powered by the OnilBox technology.”

The app offers a pay-as-you-go system, and a diversity of locations and activities, allowing users to visit locations close to them or just try out a unique experience to expand their fitness horizons.

So far, OniBox has a user base of over 100, and has received over 2,000 bookings. It has over 50 listings on the application that generate revenue. The founders have self-invested about US$40,000 to create smart gyms in order to stimulate behavioural change, and even without external capital the startup is planning continental expansion. Moves into Kenya and Mauritius are currently underway, while Rwanda and South Africa are other key target markets.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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