IIT Grads Build Smart Home Gym For Tiny Spaces, Earn Patent & Rs 3.5 Crore
Built by four IIT-Delhi graduates, Aroleap X is a patented, smart, wall-mounted home gym equipment that comes with 100 hours of fitness content and is perfect for apartments.
In late 2019, four friends discussed potential business ventures they could embark on together. Among them, one was an ultra-marathoner, two were gym enthusiasts, while the fourth was passionate about callisthenics.
The common ground of fitness and technology bonded these IIT-Delhi graduates. Further, capitalising on the expertise of two of them in robotics, they decided to develop a home fitness device.
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So, the four engineers — Aman Rai, Anurag Dani, Rohit Patel and Amal George — embarked on creating their own home gym, designed for efficient strength training within limited space. Nearly three years and 15 prototypes later, in May 2022, they launched Aroleap X — a smart, wall-mounted gym equipment, which comes with 100 hours of curated fitness content developed by seasoned fitness coaches.
Their innovative equipment is crafted to guide beginners and seasoned enthusiasts alike towards their fitness aspirations through personalised fitness regimes, while tracking their movement and mapping the corresponding data.
Aroleap’s technology is patented, fully manufactured in India, and currently offers over 150 exercises.
Train at home in a small space
Aman Rai, a chemical engineering graduate from IIT Delhi, is a passionate runner with many ultra-marathons under his belt. Upon starting his career, he struggled to juggle his job responsibilities with regular gym visits for strength training, which is essential for runners. Residing in a rented accommodation in Bengaluru, the limited equipment at his disposal at home fell short of adequately supporting his training regimen.
Anurag Dani also found it tough to find time to head to the gym due to long work hours. Meanwhile, Rohit Patel and Amal George, who were studying robotics, spent hours building solutions for everyday problems, and were keen on solving this as well.
The problem really, according to the founders, was the fact that there was no single equipment that could replicate the entire gym at home. They discovered that home gym equipment was big, costly, and demanded ample space. Additionally, they struggled to accurately monitor their movements.
“We would have to keep buying different weights and bars to train at home. This occupies a lot of space and doesn’t work, especially in rented spaces and small apartments. It also becomes bulky and unsafe. So we decided to find a solution,” Aman tells The Better India.
At the same time, a new digital-weights technology emerged. Amal and Rohit, robotics graduates, explored creating a similar system. They began prototyping, aiming to replace physical weights with digital ones using motors.
“We tried to replicate the same types of resistance that a physical weight provides with the help of a motor,” explains Aman.
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For the next few months, the four of them worked on building prototypes, investing almost Rs 25 lakh of their own money.
In 2020, they incorporated their company by the name ‘Aroleap Fitness Private Limited’. Amid the pandemic, like most people, the founders headed home. Aman, Rohit and Anurag hail from Bhilai, Chhattisgarh, and have known each other since school. So they were able to continue their R&D at home.
In the winter of 2020, with their first prototype in hand, they initiated their first round of trials by inviting friends from school over. They filmed a video showcasing their product and commenced sharing it on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
“To get people interested in the product, we started by offering monthly subscriptions, priced equal to a premium gym membership. We got a lot of interest and once back in Bengaluru, we sent our prototypes to a few people who seemed very interested,” says Aman.
These first customers tried the product for four to six months and offered their feedback to the founders. Based on the feedback, the engineers made changes to the product. Once they were satisfied with the product, they encountered the big challenge — finding investors.
To try their luck, Rohit sent a message to Nithin Kamath, CEO of Zerodha. Aman states that Nithin came to their apartment in J P Nagar, Bengaluru, and tried the prototype. Impressed, he decided to bet on them and become their first angel investor.
They also found three other investors and raised their seed capital in October 2021. Then, they set up a small manufacturing facility in Bengaluru and began selling Aroleap X in May 2022.
How the home gym works
Aroleap X is a compact, wall-mounted smart exercise machine that uses motor-powered electromagnetic resistances to provide a data-driven workout. The device takes up 4 feet x 2 feet space, which is equivalent to a vertically wall-mounted 55 inch LED TV.
The patented digital-weights technology was built in-house and comes with fitness content to support workouts. The machine uses a motor to simulate the weight.
“When you pull the rope on the device, it generates resistance. Our device works like a personal trainer and tells you when to reduce or increase weight,” adds Rohit.
The machine can be used to do everything that you do at a gym, he adds. “The technology has condensed all different weight stacks into a single motor. We have a patent for this motor-controlled technology. Our motor provides resistance from 2 kg to 75 kg,” adds Aman.
Over 150 exercises can be done using the machine, and every muscle group of one’s body can be targeted. AI-powered training sessions track the user’s progress and suggest better methods of working out, while giving real-time tracking and insights.
The machine offers goal-based workout programmes, designed by professional fitness trainers. From building muscle and weight training to becoming a better runner, the machine has something for everyone.
The machine comes with two arms, which can be adjusted at different positions. It also comes with different accessories like barbells, ropes, and D-handles.
“You can select the weight you want to for a particular exercise, and the machine will count the reps, and monitor how you are performing. It adjusts the weight depending on your performance. If you struggle, it will reduce the weight,” says Rohit, adding that their goal is to make fitness data-driven and scientific.
“While such products are available abroad, like Tonal in the USA, this is the only one in India, manufactured completely in India,” says Rohit.
Akshat Jalan from Gurugram has been using the Aroleap X for around one and a half years. He says that this equipment helps him workout diligently and that it provides everything needed for an efficient workout without occupying space.
“I don’t find the time to go to the gym regularly. I tried getting a bunch of equipment to workout at home but the result was suboptimal. I was not able to do all the exercises I would normally do at the gym. Aroleap provides a holistic workout and is equivalent to the gym, for me. It is convenient, tracks data, and helps you scientifically plan your routines,” says Akshat.
Aroleap is sold at Rs 1.69 lakh through their website and on Amazon. They have sold over 300 home gyms, so far, across 20 cities, and had a turnover of Rs 3.5 crore in the year 2023-24. They’ve also been selling their product in the B2B space to hotels, co-working spaces, and physiotherapy clinics.
Hoping to expand to the international market soon, Aman says, “We want to make fitness simple and accessible.”
Edited by Pranita Bhat
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