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As the gym flows

Jiangyang Zhang, left, and Jimmy Liu present GymFlow at the Launch Conference in San Francisco. (Photo/Courtesy of USC Viterbi)

Jimmy Liu, a business administration major, and Jiangyang Zhang, a PhD student studying electrical engineering, joined forces last winter to create a new iPhone app that measures the traffic of USC’s Lyon Center to help Trojans avoid crowds and save time.

Developed in November at a time when there appeared to be an app for nearly everything, GymFlow began as a relatively simple class project for the USC Viterbi School of Engineering course “Building the High Tech Startup.”

Before GymFlow, there was no well-known application that tracked the number of people inside a popular venue, such as a restaurant or gym, in real time.

With that in mind, Liu and Zhang got to work. After hiring Jordan Harmon, a senior majoring in fine arts and graphic design, the team launched GymFlow on Feb. 4. Since its release, more than 1,300 USC students downloaded the free app to help maximize their workout experience. GymFlow also helps Lyon Center staff be better prepared to accommodate large crowds of students.

For commercial gyms that integrate the app into their system, GymFlow can help boost membership retention. In fitness clubs nationwide, approximately 35 to 40 percent of customers cancel their membership every year, which leads to a $9 billion loss in revenue. According to its creators, GymFlow can help keep members active and informed.

During the startup process, Liu and Zhang learned several lessons that positively impacted their experience in the tech industry, as well as their experience with expansion and brand development. For example, the team learned how important it is to make the application easy to download, readily accessible and user-friendly. The team also noted that none of its success would have been possible without the support of the Trojan Family.

“Because of my connections here, I’m only one degree away from a number of gym networks and executives that can help grow GymFlow,” Liu said.

Liu, Zhang and Harmon attended Launch Conference, the premier conference for startup companies, earlier this month to introduce GymFlow to various fitness centers in San Francisco. The team’s ultimate goal is to market its app to gyms across California.


As the gym flows

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