FitTech Insider

How did you make EMS training hybrid, Emilia van Keyserlingk?

EMS (Electrical muscle stimulation) intensifies every body movement, leading to a full-body workout in only 20 minutes. Until 2021, that was only a thing for specialized gyms. Emilia von Keyserlingk founded Pepper, which offers innovative EMS suits and interactive training software with EMS-tailored content for the home use.

Your product combines EMS suit training with a smart trainer, which helps me to have a more efficient workout. So the presumed target group - is that actually you?
Definitely. As a strategy consultant for the last couple of years with long working hours and business travels, I was really struggling to find enough time to work out. For me, efficient training that I can do at home or in my hotel room was the perfect solution. The great thing about our solution is, that it's for beginners and professionals alike, as you can customize your training intensity.

What is your company's secret sauce?
When it comes to EMS technology, there was no point in reinventing the wheel, there already is state-of-the-art technology available. When developing our hardware, we focused on efficiency and ease of use. Our suit can be put on super quickly, is machine washable, and fits into every travel bag. However, our interactive software with training content is the real secret sauce. We want to help users really get the most out of their 20 minutes using EMS, paired with fun and motivation. Users get access to a huge variety of EMS-tailored content with motivating trainers, the ability to control the training intensity, and to track their progress with gamification. Lastly, we also focus on our community. We work together with the best EMS experts, fitness trainers, and our strong user base.

Emilia van Keyserlingk: The high performing EMS-enthusiast
Emilia von Keyserlingk studied in Munich and Beijing before joining the consultancies Accenture and PwC, focusing on Digital Transformations. In 2021, she founded the start-up Pepper.
(🤝 Meet Emilia at LinkedIn)

Pepper: EMS-suit training in a content pack
The 2021 founded Startup Pepper combines Electronic muscle stimulation training with a diverse set of individual workouts within the App. With the help of the wireless EMS suit, workouts are 300% more effective.
(👁️ Check out Pepper)

What original assumption about your target groups have you now proven to be wrong?
Our initial assumption was that our target group would be similar to the EMS studio target group, rather female and nonathletic. That is only partly true. Most of our users have never tried EMS before and are already doing a lot of sports. They train with Pepper to reach their next fitness level more efficiently. The split between women and men is roughly 50/50.

Are EMS gyms your main competitors?
No, we rather position ourselves alongside the connected home fitness players such as Peloton, VAHA, or Tonal. We are a solution in this connected home fitness and wearables market, which is a much larger market than the niche gym market. Pepper is even compatible with other connected home fitness players, as you can intensify your Peloton ride or VAHA session.

So EMS gyms are not your competitors?
Not at all. We want to position ourselves with the big players such as Peloton, VAHA or Mirror. The connected fitness market is a much larger market and not limited to niche gyms. We position ourselves as a solution in this connected home fitness market.

Why do you think the time for your product has come?
Post pandemic, more than ever society wants to focus on their physical health, but 80% of the worldwide population is still not exercising enough. The number one reason for the lack in physical activity is time. We already found ways to make transportation, delivery, and other parts of our lives more efficient – let's now focus on our most important asset, our physical health. We believe the future of fitness will be hybrid – some people are going back to the gym, some continue their home training and some combine it. Pepper fits into this trend perfectly as it is your workout accelerator, independent of the training form, time and place.

Are there other trends that will influence your product in the future?
Definitely gaming, community and wearables. We already have various gaming elements in our app – you can track your intensity zones and progress during your workouts, collect Pepper points, train with your friends and challenge each other. There are a lot more fun and motivating gaming elements coming soon. Secondly, by wearing the suit anyway to get electrical impulses that make your training more efficient, you can of course also integrate completely different components into the suit. That might be wearables, that track your data better or integrate virtual reality.

You founded in March 2022. What will we read about Pepper in March 2023?
Pepper is like a sneaker – everyone wears a suit to work out.