Fitness App Founder, Entrepreneur, AI Expert.

“I want to help people experience life, all the while growing themselves professionally.”

With initiative and ingenuity, Garrett Gottlieb put his skills to the test. 

“In 2012 I decided that instead of working for another company I would start my own.” And so Garrett launched PumpUp, a fitness app that provides users with custom workouts and the platform to share their progress. 

After entering multiple competitions at the university and beyond, Garrett began working full time on the app, and grew a team of one to a team of twelve.

As the app grew, Garrett put aside his studies to devote his time to its development. Falling just one credit short of completing his undergraduate degree in computer science, Garrett has no regrets. “I knew the decision wouldn’t limit me. If anything, I learned more from the work experience than the classes ever taught.”

PumpUp was featured on Dragon’s Den, and other television broadcasts. The app had 6 million people on board, with 4 million dollars raised for its expansion. At one point the app was in the top 3 in health and fitness in the United States.  It seemed things could only go up. 

Skip to today, 8 years later, Garrett still has many fans of PumpUp. But, with heavy competition, PumpUp struggled to stand out in the sea of other fitness applications out there that were offering fitness programs for free. “We were really good at getting people to open the app, but when it came time to make money, we struggled.”

Recently, , Garrett has felt his passion dwindling, looked at the facts and set the app aside. “We had to ask ourselves if this was what we wanted to work on forever. Ultimately the goal wasn’t to make money, it was to learn and enjoy the journey, and we accomplished that goal.”

Garrett explains that entrepreneurship is mostly failure. As the stakes get higher, mistakes and successes grow. Building a company and seeing his app develop into one with millions of users was enough of a win for him.

From the experience, Garrett learned the benefits of pushing himself to the limit and using courage as leverage to get where he needed to go. This journey also taught Garrett the importance of balance. “I pushed myself too far in that direction of work. Now, I’m focusing on life.”

In Toronto especially, work culture is very prominent. Understanding the tolls that that mentality can take, Garrett wants to help others focus on their lives, not just their working hours. “I want to help people experience life, all the while growing themselves professionally.”

1. Milk: 2% or Skim? Almond
2. Classical or Jazz?
3. Fame or Fortune? Neither
4. Party trick? I can juggle! 
5. Last book you read? “Never Split The Difference” by Chris Voss

Torontonian Garrett Gottlieb began his undergraduate studies at the University of Waterloo in computer science. In his 5th year, he decided to start his own fitness app, which grew into a full-time job. Now, Garrett is pursuing his interests in the future of remote work and AI journaling.

Find Garrett on social:
Instagram @PumpUp
Facebook   www.facebook.com/PumpUpFitness/

Interview conducted and written by Adina Samuels