2020 Summer Catalyst Startup Profile: Activly
Anna Bilha ’21 is the CEO and co-founder of Activly, an app that allows you to find inspiration, organize your fitness routines, and share your workout plans with others. Inspired from her own personal experiences, along with her passion for fitness and helping others, Anna was eager to make the process of working out easier and more enjoyable; “Exercising can seem very complicated and overwhelming, it’s a door many people just don’t want to open. But working out doesn’t have to be that hard. The key is to find an exercise routine that you enjoy while also incorporating variety. You don’t have to limit yourself to just one sport or one workout routine—diversity is important.” Anna is thrilled to have the opportunity to help and motivate others throughout their fitness, mental health, and personal journeys.
With a plethora of workout content on various online platforms, organizing all of your favorite videos in one place can feel overwhelming. Activly tackles that problem. First, you can use the app to find inspiration and compile workout videos from YouTube, Instagram, and other social media channels. Then, you can utilize Activly’s template to customize your workout plans and organize all of your content in one place. You also have the option to share your workout plans with others. In addition to facilitating your workout process, Activly places diversity at the forefront of its mission and aims to create a supportive community amongst its users.
In Summer Catalyst, Anna has found the Lunch & Learn sessions and the one-on-one time with advisors, mentors, and entrepreneurs incredibly helpful: “Hearing stories from entrepreneurs, learning from advisors, and receiving continuous feedback have been amazing.” Summer Catalyst has also helped her team explore new possibilities, refine its strategies, and work toward launching the venture. Anna also appreciates the opportunity to collaborate with a cohort of ambitious, like-minded peers: “We can connect and empathize with one another. Some entrepreneurs might be experiencing a similar problem and others may have a solution. Even if our peers don’t have a solution, they are willing to work together and brainstorm ideas.” The element of community support and peer to peer collaboration plays an integral role in the entrepreneurial journey.
In these unprecedented times, finding motivation and staying productive can be especially challenging. Now more than ever, it’s important to engage in self-care by exercising, taking breaks, and being kind to yourself, says Anna: “Keep pushing yourself to take breaks and stay active—go outside in your backyard, go for a walk or a run, or try doing an at home workout routine. Exercising keeps your brain productive and healthy and can alleviate stress. Things are going to get better; you just have to be resilient and stay strong. Also, keep in mind that some of the greatest innovations have come out of moments of crisis.”
The entrepreneurial journey has taught Anna several valuable lessons that she would like to share. First of all, she’s learned to never take an interaction with someone for granted. In fact, Anna encourages entrepreneurs to talk to as many people as possible and to enter those conversations with an open mind. Be open to hearing new perspectives, seek feedback from various different individuals, and allow doors to open for you. She also advises aspiring entrepreneurs to engage in startup communities. It’s also important to ask for help when you need it and to find an advisor that you can look up to. Additionally, Anna sees “failures” as a learning experience and an opportunity to improve. What matters most is how you react to failure and move forward.
Above all, Anna strongly believes in treating everyone with kindness and care: “The best thing you can give to people is kindness; never forget that.” To all entrepreneurs starting a venture during this global pandemic: be kind to yourself and others, stay strong, engage in self-care, keep an open mind, and continue to exercise “activly.”