Why This Yoga Founder Initially Rejected an Exit – And Now Has Sold After All

Why This Yoga Founder Initially Rejected an Exit – And Now Has Sold After All

Alicia Stäcker’s Pandemic-Era Yoga Platform Success

During the pandemic, Alicia Stäcker developed the yoga platform Akira, which quickly gained thousands of users and generated five-figure revenues through the power of influencers. Recently, the startup has been acquired by a yoga company.

Akira: The “Netflix for Yoga and Fitness”

In response to the pandemic-driven surge in online yoga classes, which were often not profitable for teachers, Stäcker aimed to create a viable solution. In 2020, she launched Akira as a sort of “Netflix for Yoga and Fitness,” offering a platform for yoga instructors and influencers to share their content with subscribers. Success came swiftly, with acquisition offers rolling in just one year after launch. Eventually, she was convinced by the yoga company Yagom, which took over Akira in September 2023.

From Corporate to Yoga Entrepreneurship

Stäcker’s journey began in 2020 with a six-week yoga teacher training in Thailand. After years in corporate consulting and startups focusing on digital product development, she pivoted to teaching yoga in Berlin. However, the ensuing lockdowns forced a shift towards online teaching. Dissatisfied with the limitations of existing online platforms, she established Akira with the intention of eliminating participant caps and manual processes, while also enabling proper course monetization.

Yoga Influencers Attract a Massive Audience

Initially, Akira featured videos from 15 yoga teachers, but to reach a larger audience, Stäcker turned to social media to recruit yoga teachers and influencers. This strategy paid off when influencer Anna Posch, known as “Poschstyle,” brought thousands of new users to the platform in just one weekend, resulting in significant revenue. Collaborations with other major yoga influencers and brands like Google’s Fitbit and Kiehl’s followed.

Building a Lasting Community Post-Pandemic

Even after the pandemic, Akira’s user base remained stable thanks to the strong community built up during lockdowns. Through promotions like New Year’s challenges and Advent calendars, along with live classes, Stäcker successfully retained customers. She deliberately avoided external funding to maintain direct customer engagement and a rapid growth pace.

Founding Principles Key to Early Profitability and Expansion

The focus on influencer collaborations and proficient social media marketing was instrumental for Akira’s swift profitability, enabling the expansion of the team by five additional employees. The platform not only featured popular influencers but also engaged with micro-influencers who used and recommended Akira.

Targeted Acquisition Offer From Yoga Company Yagom

After about a year of operation, Stäcker received an acquisition offer from a major yoga company specializing in influencer marketing but turned it down, feeling the potential for learning and developing the product was too great. However, the eventual offer from Yagom, a company that aligned well with Akira’s target demographic, came at an opportune time. Stäcker is curious to see how her platform will evolve under new ownership.

Alicia’s Next Endeavor to Inspire Other Female Entrepreneurs

After selling the platform, Stäcker plans to take some time off but is open to freelancing in digital product development and potentially launching another startup. She remains passionate about yoga and hopes to inspire other women to pursue entrepreneurship, emphasizing the potential rewards of perseverance
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