Martial Arts on Rails, based in the bubbling tech hub of Austin, TX, builds management software for gyms and martial arts schools.
The software provides gym owners and managers with tools for managing their business. From onboarding new members digitally, managing their memberships and payments to tracking attendance and managing gym access.
Business software for gyms are not a new invention. Industry leaders such as Mindbody and Zenplanner have been providing similar services for many years.
Martial Arts on Rails founder, Eran Galperin, explains that “Many of our users come to us after being burnt out by the big players. They get big promises going through a polished sales process, but the actual product is outdated and does not deliver on those promises.”
Martial Arts on Rails was founded by Eran in 2016, having worked in software development for over 13 years and starting several software companies. At the time he had been training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu – a ground fighting art from Brazil that has its origins in Judo – for over 8 years.
Eran has experienced first-hand the gym owners’ frustrations with existing solutions. This provided the spark for combining his background in software development and user experience design, with his passion for martial arts.
From a quiet start in 2016, Martial Arts on Rails now services several hundred gyms and martial arts schools worldwide. Eran attributes their continued success to their focus on listening to user feedback and continuously improving the product.
“As a developer, I hated providing tech support. As a business owner, it’s one of my favorite things to do.” Eran said when asked about their customer-oriented process.
Martial Arts on Rails claims to deliver where existing incumbents do not. In our time spent trying out their software offering, we found it to be very user friendly and easy-to-use. Most people should have no problem starting out with their offering on their own, unlike competitors that often require (and charge for) training and extensive support.
The approach taken by Martial Arts on Rails is similar to Apple’s take on PDAs in the early 2000s, resulting in the launch of the iPhone. By focusing on user experience and presentation, they attempt to make gym management tools more accessible and pleasant to use. Their customers seem to be in agreement.
Andrew Cameron, the head of Wing Chun International, wrote –
“What can I say, I have tested many systems promising so much and in the end either too difficult to learn or just doesn’t deliver.
However, with Martial Arts on Rails, it was completely different, easy to set up, easy to use and students/instructors love it.”
Having established itself as a promising young player, Martial Arts on Rails remains small compared to some of its competitors. Competitors that employ sales teams of dozens, if not hundreds of agents.
Meanwhile, Martial Arts on Rails prides itself, perhaps naively, on having no sales agents at all. “We let our product do the talking, instead of a polished sales script”, Eran said. Martial Arts on Rails relies on word of mouth and content production to bring in new users. This article is an example of such an initiative, as they reached out to us to cover their company.
Will most people be willing to buy-in to a business management solution without the guidance of a sales agent? That remains to be seen. If you’re in the business of running a gym or a martial arts school, you might want to give Martial Arts on Rails a look and decide for yourself.