With his background as a software engineer and app productization expert, Sunny Dulay was inspired by his personal journey with Headspace, a meditation app, and founded an app development and management studio, Breakthrough apps.
Breakthrough is dedicated to helping fitness coaches to productize their coaching into an app. Since its birth, the company has been growing exponentially, with a one-of-a-kind business model that sets itself apart from app aggregators.
Breakthrough and its clients come together on a mission to productize fitness activities by bringing in complementary assets: coaches bring in their brand and community, and Breakthrough provides the technology and app business know-how.
Breakthrough is a business enablement platform similar to Shopify. Instead of presenting multiple services/coaches in a single place, it provides an infrastructure for coaches to monetize and productize their service within their unshared and exclusively branded digital space.
Listen to hear about
- The founder’s vision and lessons learned from the world of health and fitness apps
- How the company was founded and where it is going
- Tips on how to onboard an existing community onto an app
- Importance of brand awareness and community
For noteworthy quotes and key takeaways from the episode, read the article -
Episode Topics at a Glance
- Sunny Dulay's background and introduction
- Breakthrough Apps founding journey
- Breakthrough’s business model
- What Breakthrough looks for when partnering with a new coach/influencer
- Difference between Breakthrough’s offerings and an aggregator
- Sunny’s learning from the fitness space
- Community onboarding tactics
More about Sunny Dulay
Sunny Dulay is the Co-founder and CEO of Breakthrough, an App Builder for Wellness Coaches. He is an experienced software engineer, product manager & sales manager. Based on his personal life-changing experience with a single coach-based app, Sunny is a believer in on-demand personality-based coaching through an app. His mission is to help coaches around the world productize and scale their coaching business with an app. The Breakthrough team helps coaches in wellness niches like Yoga, Meditation, Fitness, Nutrition & Sports launch & grow their apps. The Breakthrough platform has generated $2M+ for coaching apps. Sunny lives in NYC!
- About Breakthrough
- Stretch App Launched by Breakthrough
- Wellness coach and want to launch or grow your app? Get in touch to make your app
- Contact Sunny
- Sunny’s LinkedIn
00:21 Sunny Dulay background and introduction
02:40 The journey of founding Breakthrough Apps
06:36 Breakthrough Apps business model and money flow
07:31 Do you have examples of similar businesses?
08:13 Advantages of a brand and community before launching
10:43 Coaches' communities: engagement and retention
12:30 Sunny's strategy for the revenue split
13:28 What criteria are you looking for in coaches?
15:14 How can you shine compared to an aggregator?
18:47 Sunny's tactics to connect coaches and their community
22:10 App store fees vs self-store investment
24:09 Sunny's learnings fro
[00:00:22.120] - Olivier Destrebecq
Welcome to the show, everybody. Today, we have Breakthrough Apps' co-founder and CEO Sunny Dulay. How are you doing, Sunny?
[00:00:27.760] - Sunny Dulay
Hey, I'm excellent. I'm a little cold, but we're doing great here in New York City.
[00:00:31.810] - Olivier Destrebecq
Awesome. We also have my co-host, Nicolas Tissier, with us today. How are you doing?
[00:00:35.620] - Nicolas Tissier
Hello. I'm very excited to be here. Sunny, good to see you.
[00:00:39.370] - Sunny Dulay
Good to see you, too, my French brother Nicolas.
[00:00:43.480] - Olivier Destrebecq
I'm super excited to have you, Sunny, on the show because you're into fitness and wellness category. On top of that, you offer an app in the white label format, which I'm sure present a lots of challenges, especially when it comes to subscriptions. We'll dig a little bit into that later. But one fun fact that I gather from when we chatted is that you have not had a single drink, if I'm not mistaken, in the last seven years. Is that true?
[00:01:08.590] - Sunny Dulay
Yeah, this is correct. One day I just decided, I'm just going to stop drinking alcohol and build a startup. And I just never drank alcohol again except for kombucha. I drink kombucha, which is a fermented tea.
[00:01:21.790] - Olivier Destrebecq
There is a little bit in there, a tiny bit?
[00:01:25.030] - Sunny Dulay
[00:01:25.720] - Nicolas Tissier
[00:01:27.430] - Olivier Destrebecq
You say you woke up one day and decided you were going to stop drinking and start a startup. But I know before that you had very varied experience and you are a software engineer, a product engineer, and maybe even some other stuff in your early days. I saw something about testing and that kind of stuff. Can you tell us a little bit how that has helped you founding Breakthrough Apps?
[00:01:45.250] - Sunny Dulay
Yeah, absolutely. My career was I was an engineer, I was a software engineer, I worked at various companies from startups to unicorns. And I knew that I always wanted to be in the app world. Ever since Steve Jobs unveiled the App Store in 2008, there was something about it. I had a couple of friends around me who launched really successful apps. That was always an inspiration for me to build an app. Then more than that, build a startup.
[00:02:12.910] - Sunny Dulay
What essentially happened was, being an engineer, I learned how the sausage was made. I figured out how software products are built. Then eventually, I transitioned to be a product manager where I basically led a SAS product. Then I really understood how all the other areas of products in companies are built. That definitely fed into doing the startup now.
[00:02:40.300] - Olivier Destrebecq
In 2019 you founded Breakthrough App and it was following a very personal journey from what you told me last time. Can you give us a big line of that journey and how that motivated you to create Breakthrough Apps?
[00:02:51.970] - Sunny Dulay
Yeah, absolutely. You know what's funny? This goes back to a few years, really seven years ago when I stopped drinking. It's quite related to that. I was in San Francisco making a lot of money working at a tech company, and part of me was just unsatisfied. But I just kept working and I was obviously learning a lot. I got hit with some life troubles where, one, I went through a breakup of a romantic relationship.
[00:03:16.420] - Olivier Destrebecq
We've all been there.
[00:03:17.140] - Sunny Dulay
All been there. And I feel like breakups are the best teachers in terms of spiritual transformation. That was my first catalyst. Then within 18 months of that breakup happening, my dad passed away, and then it just completely put things in a whole new light for me and a whole new perspective.
[00:03:36.130] - Olivier Destrebecq
[00:03:37.600] - Sunny Dulay
Part of that was just I just realise that life isn't all rainbows and butterflies necessarily. When you're in your 20s, you think you're going to live forever. But I think facing a breakup, facing death, I think it just made me reevaluate some things. And deep inside, I've always wanted to build a startup.
[00:03:56.560] - Sunny Dulay
So at that time I actually got, as I was going through all these tumultuous times, I got introduced to an app called Headspace, which is a meditation app. What was amazing was, I was just doing that app just to learn how to meditate and manage my emotions with all these life events that happened to me. That app completely transformed my life where I learned how to meditate. It was like I had this meditation coach, Andy Puddicombe, who was the main meditation coach of that time.
[00:04:24.250] - Sunny Dulay
If you guys don't know, Headspace is a Buddhist monk, then he partnered with somebody to make that app with his content. It basically became that he was my teacher and I developed a relationship with the guy, not in a creepy way or anything, but he was on my phone and whenever I was going through something, it was just always there. It was just one tap away on my phone. Then it was amazing that I have access to this meditation coach who massively transformed my life.
[00:04:53.380] - Sunny Dulay
Just fast forwarding, that one thing led to another where I realised this is so interesting, where this guy, who I've never met, he's essentially scaled himself as a coach. He's productised himself into an app, obviously him and many other people. That idea was super interesting to me.
[00:05:09.790] - Sunny Dulay
During this tumultuous time in my life as I was going through a healing process from a breakup and losing a parent, I was meeting a lot of other yoga teachers and meditation teachers and just trainers. What I realised was that, at that time, 2018, 2019, there was no way for these teachers and coaches to go and build their own Headspace. They could build their Squarespace website, Wix website, and stuff like that.
[00:05:34.270] - Sunny Dulay
But I didn't have my transformation through a Wix website that a coach set up. I had my transformation through an app. There's something magical about an app and having a coach, essentially having that on-demand content, and they're super intuitive.
[00:05:48.910] - Sunny Dulay
Basically, me and a buddy of mine, my best friend Ramie, we started this company. We initially got introduced to a yoga teacher. Then Ramie actually DMed a yoga teacher named Mary on Instagram. She had a small following at that time and she was just teaching yoga content on Instagram.
[00:06:06.810] - Sunny Dulay
We give her the offer, like, "Hey, do you want to make your own yoga app? We're just going to more or less recreate Headspace, but for yoga and have all the cool features in there." That's how it kicked off. Within just a matter of months, Mary had thousands of people paying her $10 a month, $14 a month. That's how the company really started.
[00:06:29.620] - Olivier Destrebecq
Awesome. Really, you're trying to productise, I guess, the coach that you had back then, Andy, if I remember it correctly. Can you tell us a bit about the business model? Sounds like you're partnering with some fitness coach to create some content. I'm curious, how does the money flow through all this?
[00:06:46.390] - Sunny Dulay
All of these apps are subscription-based apps and in-app purchases for digital content and various other levels of tiers of access to the actual coach and teacher. First of all, the app is launched with the coach's brand on the App Store, iOS App Store and as well as Google Play Store. And we plug into the Apple and Google infrastructure for payments.
[00:07:08.200] - Sunny Dulay
Basically is if their followers are subscribing to the app, they're subscribing through an Apple Subscriptions to the app. The way really we make money is we do a revenue share with them.
[00:07:19.330] - Nicolas Tissier
This is an excellent business model, I think. If I sum up, you provide apps to influencers. They are the strong brands and you are the tool provider to leverage their community and monetise it. I'm curious, do you have any other examples of such businesses in other fields?
[00:07:36.130] - Sunny Dulay
Yeah. I think our mentor business that we look to is Shopify. This is what Shopify does, where Shopify basically gives a platform for anybody to start an e-commerce store. You may go to an e-commerce website, you're purchasing candles or coffee mugs from this amazing brand, but really, it's all powered by Shopify. As a user, you don't know that it's Shopify.
[00:08:00.760] - Nicolas Tissier
So you're the Shopify for influencers and for coaching app. That's interesting.
[00:08:07.690] - Sunny Dulay
Yeah. We like to call us Shopify. We're Shopify for wellness coaches.
[00:08:12.430] - Nicolas Tissier
Amazing. I'm curious, what are the key advantages of having the brand and the community before launching the service? Because with most of my developers, most of our customers, they do it the other way around. They build the app first and then they try to create a community and a brand out of it. What is your opinion on this?
[00:08:34.150] - Sunny Dulay
It's super interesting. I'll answer that as by mentioning a concept called 1,000 true fans. This is a concept that was, even before social media became what it is, it's a concept that was coined basically saying that with the rise of the Internet and all these different social media platforms, if you're a creator, let's say you're super passionate about, I'm going to say, let's say I'm super passionate about soccer.
[00:08:59.440] - Sunny Dulay
Let's say I'm a soccer coach. Very, very timely as the World Cup is going on, depending on when the podcast will be released. Let's say if I'm a soccer coach or a football coach for the broader world, and that's what I'm really passionate about and I know a lot about how to coach football, what I can do is I can just start putting content out there, and then in my own style, and then people will eventually discover me if I'm consistent with that content and I create a niche.
[00:09:26.470] - Sunny Dulay
That's 1,000 true fan concept where, eventually, through the world, through the magic of Internet and these platforms, that at least a thousand people can find you and start paying you $10 a month, so then you're making six figures a year. The thousand number is a relative number. It could be 500 true fans depending on how much money you want to make and how big of the audience.
[00:09:47.720] - Sunny Dulay
But to answer your question, Nico, in terms of building the community before, I think to me, it's actually… We talk a lot about doing MVPs, minimum viable products, and having validation before you put engineering money and dollars and engineering resources and product resources to build because that stuff is expensive.
[00:10:08.860] - Sunny Dulay
I think once you already have a community, with Instagram and TikTok and YouTube, there's so many different things you can do to validate, to see if "Do people actually want this product out there?" I think once you have the community, then it's just like… Obviously, there's no guarantees in life, as we all know, but there can be a much better predictor of success before launching an app once you already have a community.
[00:10:33.160] - Sunny Dulay
That's what we've found. Over time now, we have nearly 60 different coaches, 6-0, and we've just gotten better and better at figuring out what communities are going to work.
[00:10:45.220] - Nicolas Tissier
What share of the community, of each coach community, actually activate from the app and how much engaged are they?
[00:10:53.950] - Sunny Dulay
Great question. I'm going to qualify my answer by saying we have not done any paid advertising. This is all organic through the community. So we've seen it ranges, because it depends on the niche and it depends on, obviously, the engagement of the community because that's going to be different based on the niche, based on the coach.
[00:11:11.680] - Sunny Dulay
What we see is anywhere from five, 5% of the audience actually participating in downloading the app and we've even seen up to 30% of some coaches who have a following of over six figures in following. We've seen that 30% of their audience have, over time, over 12 months, actually downloaded their app.
[00:11:34.750] - Nicolas Tissier
How sticky are they with the app then? Do they subscribe to the service?
[00:11:40.180] - Sunny Dulay
Obviously, not all 30% of them are subscribing necessarily but a lot of them are hanging on and it's just a standard funnel from there. A percentage of them are subscribing. Obviously, that conversion rate depends on a lot of things, too. There's a range of conversion rate, conversions of them subscribing.
[00:11:58.120] - Sunny Dulay
In terms of retention, once we see that people have downloaded the app and they've subscribed, we actually see an 80% retention rate for certain coaches that who we have validated and we see that they have a real, true community and they're continuing to feed it. It's not abnormal for us to see an over 80% retention rate. We believe it's because of the whole 1,000 true fans concept because people really, at the end of the day, they just love the coach.
[00:12:26.080] - Nicolas Tissier
They're very engaged with the brand and they have a very strong intent as well.
[00:12:31.420] - Olivier Destrebecq
One of the trick when doing white labeling and having partners, I'm sure, is doing two revenue splits, which is probably not very easy. Did you find a solution to that aspect? Because I don't think the app stores help you in doing that.
[00:12:43.390] - Sunny Dulay
That definitely is one of the most complicated parts of the business is doing the revenue split. The way we solve that currently is just by doing really good bookkeeping on our end. Obviously, it would be amazing. Stripe has a product called Stripe Connect, which makes essentially these things super easy and platforms similar to Lyft and other marketplaces that utilize Stripe Connect.
[00:13:05.260] - Sunny Dulay
Unfortunately, the App Store does not have such a product, so we have to build a layer on top of that. We're actually working on building that out ourselves. But so far it's just been bookkeeping and spreadsheets just to make that work. We, obviously, we use a platform called Tipalti that helps us manage, basically pay out people all around the world.
[00:13:27.580] - Olivier Destrebecq
Cool. You said you have about 60 coaches today on your platform. Is it an open platform? Can anybody apply? What are you guys' criteria? What kind of things are you looking for before you onboard somebody?
[00:13:38.410] - Sunny Dulay
Unfortunately, it is not an open platform yet. We've taken things in stride and eventually we will open it up so it's open for anybody and everybody. Few criteria that we look for: one, we look to see if the coach already has built up a niche on Instagram or any other platform for that matter, just seeing that they're, at the very least, a micro-influencer. So even if they have a few thousand influencers, that's totally fine given they have their whole page is set up for their niche.
[00:14:11.080] - Sunny Dulay
The second is we look for their engagement metrics. We'd like to see when they're posting, how their engagement is in terms of likes, comments, shares, and all that kind of stuff. There's a lot of tools out there that give you that information. Well, a bonus qualifying criteria for us is we like to see if some of these coaches have already tried out creating a digital business, using things like Kajabi or Teachable or maybe just put something up on a Wix website and try to sell any book.
[00:14:42.760] - Sunny Dulay
Those coaches are the best because we realise that, okay, they have the built-in audience and as well as they're entrepreneurial and they have the intention to truly create a business. They've also—and super bonus for us is—they try tried out these other platforms and they realise they almost have a benchmark in their head.
[00:14:59.800] - Sunny Dulay
We've had a ton of people come from other platforms like Kajabi or come from other aggregators like Playbook, and they already know the good, bad, and ugly. So when they come to us, we really shine when they've seen what the other side looks like.
[00:15:14.710] - Olivier Destrebecq
Tell us a bit about how do you shine compared to an aggregator, I guess, Kajabi, I don't know. It sounds like it's an aggregator. I guess everybody gets on that platform and they get their profile and they're in the middle of everybody else. How do you guys differentiate yourself?
[00:15:30.030] - Sunny Dulay
Excellent question. The aggregator that… I'll name two. First of all, maybe I should just quickly define what an aggregator is.
[00:15:36.570] - Olivier Destrebecq
[00:15:38.040] - Sunny Dulay
I think using the same Shopify example, Shopify releases a bunch of e-commerce stores. They have a million e-commerce stores around the Internet. Shopify is not an aggregator, but what is an aggregator in competition with Shopify is Amazon because Amazon is one e-commerce app that has a bunch of sub-e-commerce companies selling stuff. So Amazon is an aggregator.
[00:16:00.300] - Sunny Dulay
The same way in wellness and fitness in general, the super popular aggregator for meditation coaches is an app called Insight Timer. Insight Timer is an aggregator. They've over 6,000 meditation features on there. It's a great platform. Full disclosure, I personally actually use the app because they have this great feature to have a meditation bell. There's some teachers that I sincerely love and I follow them on there.
[00:16:25.500] - Sunny Dulay
Now the Insight Timer, the issue from a teacher's perspective is they are one out of thousands. So it's really sometimes hard for them to, one, keep people engaged with their programs and everything that they're doing. Second, it's really hard for them to—well, it's not beyond hard, it's actually impossible because the exact meters don't allow for them to build their own businesses on top of that.
[00:16:49.830] - Sunny Dulay
Meaning, let's say if I'm an if I'm a coach and I get on Insight Timer or I get on another aggregator called Playbook, those aggregators are not going to give me my users' emails. Then if I don't have their emails, I can't really build an online business to try to sell them other stuff like retreats or one-on-one coaching or other things. Whereas, our whole offering is that we're going to be your partner to build your own online business.
[00:17:12.570] - Sunny Dulay
The comparison that I like to make is, let's say if I'm a yoga teacher and I have two options, either I can go join a pre-existing yoga studio. There's already a bunch of teachers there. That's joining an aggregator. Or what they can do is they can just open their own yoga studio. And yes, there's going to be more risk involved. But if you're confident in your audience and you're confident in your own self, which many of the creators that are out there, they also tend to be very entrepreneurial and then they end up opening up essentially their own "yoga studio".
[00:17:43.740] - Sunny Dulay
But with us, they're essentially creating their own business, whereas they have that. That ends up being, I would say, the biggest difference from the end user perspective in an aggregator. Using my own example, when you go to an aggregator, there's so much distraction, there's so much noise. When you go to an aggregator, every day there's a new coach that you're seeing.
[00:18:05.730] - Sunny Dulay
For any of us who've been on journeys of wellness and meditation or working on improving ourselves, you can't be changing your coach every three days. You got to just stick with one coach and see through their program. I think this whole paradox of change is one of the biggest issues in our society, in my opinion.
[00:18:25.140] - Sunny Dulay
Whereas with us, with the approach that we have—and there's other companies do have this approach, too—for end consumers, for them to meet their goal, they get to set the path and they get to do away with the distractions. So if they like Mary, they get the Mary app. It's just all about Mary. They like Hannah, they get the Hannah app. It's just all about that and they stick with it, they're part of that community.
[00:18:47.970] - Olivier Destrebecq
As this coach get onto your platform, they already have a community, as you said earlier. What tricks have you learned to help those coach onboard their community into the app? Because it's a different platform for them so they have to make sure that community follows them over there.
[00:19:04.320] - Sunny Dulay
Here's a value bomb, as I know some podcast people will call it, if somebody is interested.
[00:19:11.640] - Olivier Destrebecq
I've heard that before.
[00:19:13.260] - Sunny Dulay
We've learned this over time and we learned it somewhat accidentally and then we realised, "Oh, my God, this works for every coach." Every coach that we've tried it, this works. Obviously, there's many tactics. I'll give you one tactic that we use. It's creating challenges on the app.
[00:19:30.450] - Sunny Dulay
Let's say if I'm a meditation teacher, the way to get people on to my app… If I just have a bunch of content, yes, some people will come on and they'll check it out. And sometimes people come to an app, there's so much content they don't know where to start.
[00:19:45.360] - Sunny Dulay
Waking Up of Sam Harris is an app. What they do is they have a introductory course. So it's like, "Okay, I'm going to start with the introductory course. Headspace has a basics one. "Okay, That's the first course that I'm going to do." What we figured out is, yeah, you need to give people some sort of course format that they can just jump into. And specifically in the course format, we like to rebrand it as a challenge.
[00:20:08.700] - Sunny Dulay
So whenever a coach launches with us, their grand opening on their app is doing a community challenge. That's essentially where they'll create a, let's say, 14 days of meditation or 14 days of mindfulness and they'll create that challenge on the app. That ends up being a great way.
[00:20:26.540] - Sunny Dulay
Along with the challenges, they'll advertise it on their social media. They'll say, "Hey, everybody that participates in this challenge will have a chance to win X, Y, Z prizes." And as well as it's a place that's… By the way, it's all asynchronous and then it brings people. It makes them take an action because they're like, "Oh, this is like something that really speaks to me. Or maybe it's a need I have or maybe it's a problem I have. This challenge just seems to be the solution for it and a lot of people are doing it. So it really solves this."
[00:20:55.580] - Sunny Dulay
We found that that ends up really bringing people over. Related to that, what we've also found a great way to bring people over, and this is a tactic that we use actually in January of every year. In January, everybody and their mother that's a fitness coach or a wellness coach is selling some sort of program. They're all selling something. Obviously, Black Friday is a big sale and then Cyber Monday is a big sale, but then January, they're working on selling a program. "Hey, buy my program."
[00:21:23.570] - Sunny Dulay
The way we found to get around that, we just say we're going to run a challenge in January for all the apps individually, and then we're going to make those challenges free. Now I'm giving away this tactic and more people will start using it, maybe. But I mean, already a lot of people use it, but I think that's fine because I think, at the end of the day, whatever works for people, at the end of the day, is helping people.
[00:21:45.380] - Sunny Dulay
We basically make the challenges free. Then once people get into the challenge, then they see the value that, "Oh, this app is actually helping. I've meditated 10 days in a row because of this app." Then at the end of the challenge, we just prompt them with a discount through an in-app Paywall that we stay. We get them, show them the value, and they back it up by doing action, and then we give them the trigger, in Nico's words.
[00:22:10.190] - Olivier Destrebecq
Awesome. Is there any other things like this that you've learned through practice through Breakthrough Apps?
[00:22:15.650] - Sunny Dulay
Yeah, just to basically grow the apps, to get people to the app?
[00:22:19.340] - Olivier Destrebecq
Yeah. Well, these are an acquisition or just in general. You had mentioned stuff about the app store fees versus going at it by yourself and doing your own store when we talked last time. I think that would be a good one to cover potentially.
[00:22:32.030] - Sunny Dulay
Yeah, 100%. I would say one of the best things about having an app is you get to be on the App Store. I think for a lot of creators out there, they can go make a TikTok account or an Instagram account. But to be on an app store, which is another place where millions of people are going and searching for their problems, because Apple and Google have done this campaign like, "Hey, there's an app for that. Whatever you want, there's an app for that."
[00:22:53.240] - Sunny Dulay
So literally, if you're looking for handstands, you can just search handstands. Coincidentally, a Breakthrough app is the first one that ranks for handstands. If you're looking for stretching, you search for stretch. Coincidentally, it's a Breakthrough app that ranks for that, too. So that's the beauty of it, where having an app on app store, we can start to rank for certain keywords and we can rank for certain keywords and insert localisation.
[00:23:15.680] - Sunny Dulay
We have actually a big focus on app store optimisation, ASO, and that ends up being a great way where people are able to acquire new users. We have an app that I won't mention the name, but literally in the last six months, we've gotten, just organically, we didn't even try much ASO, but we've ranked for certain words. Because of that we were able to get 50,000 fresh downloads that these are all 50,000 people who did not know about this creator who has a million followers on Instagram, and they discovered them just through the App Store.
[00:23:49.490] - Sunny Dulay
I think there's more to come with the App Store. I think Apple and Google are both really doing a lot of work, like in-app events is a recent thing that was launched. I think App Store is still very early in the days of the algorithm, if you will.
[00:24:02.510] - Olivier Destrebecq
How interesting. I feel like it's been there for a decade or so now, so it's nice to hear that you feel there's still plenty to come. Clearly, most of the app that are working with you that you guys publish are in the fitness space. Did you learn anything specific about that category that you could learn with us today?
[00:24:18.080] - Sunny Dulay
About the fitness space, I think the biggest thing that I've realised… And this was a validation, this was an idea that I had that I just I feel like over the last three years, we've just been trying to validate this, especially in a day and age where there's so much stuff out there for fitness and wellness. What we've learned is through hundreds of thousands of people on our platform, what we've learned, and through doing hundreds of user interviews and surveys, we've realised that people really struggle with two things.
[00:24:44.750] - Sunny Dulay
The end consumer, there's really two main things that it all boils down to when it comes to them not being able to achieve their wellness or fitness goals. Number one, I think everybody has their wellness goals. You can find a stranger on the street, be like, "Hey, what's your fitness goal? Do you have a wellness goal?" This not something we have to think about. They know what their wellness goal is. Maybe it's to get stronger or maybe it's to sleep better, or maybe it's to whatever it is.
[00:25:10.790] - Sunny Dulay
The two things that it boils down to that people struggle why they're not able to achieve that, one is majority of the people do not have a roadmap on how to achieve it. Let's say if I'm a guy, I'm like, "Hey, I just went through the holidays and realise I need to lose some weight." Let's say for me. Let's say, I'm like, "I got to just lose some weight. Maybe 5 pounds. It will be great." Then I'll start to feel better. Or if I'm trying to get stronger. I don't necessarily, me not being a medical professional, me not being a coach myself, I don't know the road map.
[00:25:38.660] - Sunny Dulay
Then number two is, the second thing that we realise people struggle with is, many people will have a road map where they'll purchase a PDF guide on how to get there, but then they won't have consistency. We realise that those are the two big things that… They don't have a road map and they don't have the consistency/discipline.
[00:25:55.460] - Sunny Dulay
The big thing that I learned what ends up working for people is to give them a road map. People buy from people. Like for me, I needed a one person who became my coach, who became my teacher, and I learned from that person, "Okay, this person's my road map." Through Breakthrough, that's the value that we have in our minds. That's what we believe in. The people will just learn from the one coach and then for them to be consistent, there's so many tools out there.
[00:26:21.230] - Sunny Dulay
We have to use tools to just help us build habits. Essentially with the app, we see this. We have this simple feature in the app called the Streak Counter where people are able to track how many days in a row they've done a yoga class or done something. We see people that have over a thousand days of a streak, and that means they've done yoga for a thousand days straight. That's consistency. I would say those are the two biggest things that I learned.
[00:26:44.720] - Nicolas Tissier
Now, all this is about habit formation.
[00:26:48.200] - Sunny Dulay
[00:26:48.950] - Nicolas Tissier
And you need to start somewhere. You need to have the few first steps that are designed for you. So you take the decision and then it's about how do I go to the next level. The challenge that you mentioned at the beginning helps to this extent. Then you need the reward. You need to have somebody make you commit to your habits and all this. This is very well described in the Atomic Habits. I don't know if you read this book.
[00:27:18.770] - Sunny Dulay
100%, yeah. I love that book.
[00:27:20.690] - Nicolas Tissier
But this is exactly what it is about, forming habits.
[00:27:24.560] - Sunny Dulay
Yeah. Actually, that is Atomic Habits and as well as there's Power of Habit. There's a couple of books that I really love about habit, and a lot of the key principles in the app are very closely built around a lot of the concepts. That's something that I'm excited about, is to continue to do more habit-forming features in the app that will continue to help people be consistent.
[00:27:46.400] - Olivier Destrebecq
For my last question for today, I want to take you to a slightly different direction, actually. I mentioned at the top that you have a white label model in a way, like you have one code base that you share for all the coaches. There's always a debate when you do this of how much customisation you allow, how many features do you allow for coaches, and that kind of stuff. I'm curious where you landed on that debate and how you solve that problem.
[00:28:08.960] - Sunny Dulay
Excellent question. That, in many ways, is the million-dollar question: how do you really make this work? Especially when all these creators, they're super entrepreneurial, they really want their own thing. What we realise is I like to look at things from first principles and boil down: what is the real reason, what is the ultimate goal that the coaches have, and what's the ultimate goal that the end users have?
[00:28:34.190] - Sunny Dulay
I think when you just think about what is the ultimate goal, okay, for coaches, it's make money, make things sustainable for themselves and as well as connect with their community and have a place where they can basically download their minds and have it be in one spot if that's highly consumable. Then for the end consumers, like we mentioned, for them to really connect with the coach, connect with the community, and be consistent on the app.
[00:28:55.610] - Sunny Dulay
I think us boiling it down to that, we've been able to essentially continue to get buy-in from our partners, from our creator partners. Yes, sometimes creators will want to edit certain features in their own way and put on a designer hat all of a sudden, and then we have to get a buy-in. Ultimately this is a different solution, but it achieves, we have the same goal.
[00:29:18.320] - Sunny Dulay
So what we've basically done is we've taken the platform approach where we've, from the beginning, build out. We build out a basic feature set. But as we got new creators and different verticals, we were to continue to evolve it.
[00:29:33.620] - Sunny Dulay
We signed on a creator who was a meditation coach. We're like, "Okay, for meditation, we have specific features that we need," and we continue to just, instead of charging them for it, we just build that into the platform so they get it for free. So we've had that platform approach. As well as with the community of creators, they've been able to pitch in and see that like, "Hey, I'm part of this journey of building up this Breakthrough platform."
[00:29:55.940] - Sunny Dulay
Second, I would say we've had the focus on being vertical-specific. I think with a white label app to truly work, I think you definitely need to have some boundaries in terms of you can't just… The boundaries need to be around the verticals specifically. This is exactly why we don't have a plan to go beyond wellness. I think wellness as a whole is a massive market, and wellness is not just fitness. Wellness is mindfulness, life coaching, bodybuilding, and gymnastics, and sports coaching, all that stuff.
[00:30:26.100] - Sunny Dulay
So we find that having that boundary that this is specifically wellness, we're able to see that all the wellness apps out there, they have finite features. What we basically did is we studied those features: do they align with what our creators are trying to achieve with their ultimate goal and what the consumers are trying to achieve with their ultimate goal? Then we just white-label those features and make it available for creators.
[00:30:48.240] - Sunny Dulay
That's how we've been able to manage having a white label platform, as well as, I mean, last but not least, I think having different templates and just having some choice in terms of like, "Okay, you can either pick this template or this template."
[00:31:00.360] - Sunny Dulay
Overall, I have an amazing engineering team, so we've been able to make everything be pretty modular, modular and templatised. And we've worked very closely with our partners, with the coaches to understand what they need in terms of their brand. I think we've been able to study that fonts, colours, and font size, and spacings in fonts, these are all important things. So we made sure that every text that appears in the app, we're able to control those things.
[00:31:26.920] - Olivier Destrebecq
Cool, cool, cool. Well, we're at the end. So if people want to learn more about Breakthrough or learn about you, where can they go to learn more?
[00:31:34.770] - Sunny Dulay
Yes, please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn, Sunny Dulay. Sunny like outside and D-U-L-A-Y on LinkedIn. I'm usually pretty responsive on LinkedIn. Or you can absolutely check us out at breakthroughapps.io and you can learn more there.
[00:31:52.230] - Olivier Destrebecq
Awesome, cool. Thank you very much. Thank you so much for sharing all that experience and everything that you've learned over the last few years, I guess, now. So thanks again.
[00:32:00.210] - Sunny Dulay
Thank you so much, guys. This is awesome.
[00:32:02.100] - Nicolas Tissier
Thank you very much, Sunny. Bye, guys.
[00:32:03.630] - Sunny Dulay
[00:32:03.990] - Nicolas Tissier
[00:32:06.190] - Narrator
On behalf of the Purchasely team, thank you for listening to the Subscription League podcast. If you've enjoyed what you heard, leave us a five-star review on iTunes or other audio platforms. To find out more about Purchasely and how we can improve your subscription business, visit purchasely.com. Please hit subscribe in your podcast player and don't miss any future episodes. You can also listen to previous episodes at subscriptionleague.com. See you soon.