A long, long time ago — or rather, in January — we linked to a story from Cincinnati.com on a startup called FLYUP Fitness founded by a former PwC auditor who was inspired by long busy seasons and lack of opportunity to get to the gym.
Well we got the chance to check in with founder Brent Kruithof today and find out more about what compelled him to give up the good life at PwC to sow his fitness oats.
It should be obvious this is in interview form, but if it isn't: I'm GC and he's BK, got it?
GC: For starters, tell me a little about your background? What were you doing at PwC and why did you leave? Did you always have an idea you were going to bail on public and do something completely unrelated?
BK: After an internship in the Cincinnati office before my senior year, I accepted a full-time position upon graduation in 2007. I worked with PwC in Cincinnati for four years working in the PCS (Private Company Services) audit group. After four years of about mostly 70+ hour work weeks, I decided to either jump ship and go private or get an international assignment with PwC.
Four months later, my wife and I moved to the Cayman Islands so I could audit hedge funds with PwC in Grand Cayman. The Cayman Islands office is almost strictly a Financial Services office, so it was a bit of a learning curve for me – no inventory lots of valuations! It was an incredible experience learning a different culture and living a block from Seven Mile Beach.
GC: In a previous story about how you got started with FLYUP Fitness, you mentioned busy season as motivating you due to lack of time to get to gym. How else did your career with PwC inspire you to develop this?
BK: As I was nearing the end of my two year work visa in the Cayman Islands, I was trying to decide what to do next. I was offered a promotion and an extension to stay in Grand Cayman, but decided against that since my wife and I were going to be starting a family. During my six years of accounting, I had always enjoyed trying to stay fit and active. However, it is very hard to stay consistent living a CPA lifestyle – long hours and frequent travel. So, I had actually created a fitness product that I used personally when I couldn't go to the gym. The principle is based off of functional training – using body weight resistance and multiple muscle movement at once. I wanted to make sure I created a product that was effective, affordable, versatile, and portable since I often had to work out at home or hotel rooms.
To be honest, I don't really know how it went from an idea to actually deciding to launch a business. I know it involved lots of discussion, lots of prayer, and just a little bit of actual planning. In hindsight, I wish I had read more, budgeted more, networked more, and came up with a real plan.
GC: How do you think your CPA background has helped with the business?
BK: I thought being a CPA would prepare me to launch a business, but as with most accountants, I was much better at the quantitative stuff than the qualitative marketing stuff. In fact, I designed my first company logo in Excel, what else? I didn't know how to use any of the Adobe software and Excel was my best friend. I launched FLYUP Fitness in the fall of 2012. I called it "FLYUP Fitness" because I wanted to leverage off of all the common exercises that are so fundamental to functional training – pull-up, push-up, sit-up, and chin-up.
GC: Would you ever go back to public? You better give me a good answer for that one.
BK: In regard to going back to public accounting, I must say that there is no other place that I would rather have started my career than PwC. They firm was very good to me and I learned a lot about hard work as a young member of the work force. I'm especially grateful for the international opportunity I had in the Cayman Islands. However, if I was forced to go back to accounting, I would first consider looking for accounting opportunities on the private side. The only way I would go back to audit is if it were in the Cayman Islands.
FLYUP Fitness can be found on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and possibly in your own hotel room? At $40 a pop, it's a pretty reasonable way to battle the flab on the road and support a public accounting refugee (full disclaimer: we were not paid to promote this product, nor have we tried it, we just thought it is cool that this guy is so into his business and figured we'd share in the hopes it might inspire you to run off Cayman, quit your job and follow your dreams. Or something.)