How one fitness entrepreneur raised $14 million


On a recent Monday, Payal Kadakia placed her hand on a ballet barre, lifted her right arm, and pulsed her fingertips skyward. Clad in all black, hair pulled back, she moved with the grace of a woman who points and flexes her feet as effortlessly as most people text.

Airy, mirror-walled spaces like this Avant Barre classroom in downtown San Francisco feel like home to Kadakia. As a founder of ClassPass, a monthly subscription service for fitness classes, she finds herself in them often, talking with studio managers, meeting ClassPass users, and, of course, working out.

“I basically live in workout clothes,” she says later over a mug of green tea.

But Kadakia, 31, is not an exercise enthusiast in the mode of Jane Fonda or Tracy Anderson. She doesn’t care if the users of ClassPass end up with trimmer thighs or carved-out midsections. She simply wants people to…

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