Joshua Wax ’23

oYA, New York, NY

In the past 18 months, many of the world’s systems and industries have experienced a reconfiguration catalyzed by Covid-19. The inertia that governs most of our habits was eliminated, forcing consumers into the scary territory of trying new things. The craziest part of all is that we liked them. The idea that employees would not go into the office five days a week once seemed unthinkable; but after experiencing the convenience and ease that work from home provides, many employees have refused to go back to the way things were. It now seems that most companies 
will adopt a permanent hybrid work model. Similarly, the fitness industry, long dominated by equipment-filled physical spaces, has accommodated at-home solutions.

In 2019, the $96.7 billion global health club industry was one of the world’s fastest-growing industries, having grown 45.2% over the last decade. Specifically, boutique fitness—small group classes following a brand’s patented 
methodology—largely drove the growth. According to the International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association, 
membership at boutique gyms grew by 121% between 2013 and 2017, dwarfing the 15% increase at traditional gyms. The shift revealed that consumers valued the community, accountability, and structure of boutique fitness.

While boutique fitness chains have traditionally operated as brick-and-mortar entities, the pandemic hyper-accelerated 
a virtual fitness awakening, bifurcating the industry into digital and in-person classes. In the last several years, multiple state-of-the-art home fitness devices entered the market: Mirror, Tonal, Hydrow, among others. However, because they were so new, the devices lacked a variety of content options. The problem presented a considerable opportunity, and this is where oYA comes in—we would become the Netflix of virtual fitness, integrating the valued elements of boutique fitness classes with the convenience and scalability of at-home fitness.

I joined oYA to pursue the goal of building an accessible virtual fitness platform that would meet the needs of all consumers, providing engaging opportunities to exercise at home. As a college athlete, the opportunity particularly excited me as I integrated my passion for entrepreneurship with my love of sports. When I joined oYA, the company was still in its prenatal phases, which provided me with the invaluable opportunity of experiencing how a company develops. I participated in naming exercises, helped build the corporate pitch deck that outlined the company’s long-term vision and go-to-market strategy, and worked with a nationally recognized legacy fitness 
company on the product vision.

I am deeply grateful to the Case Family and the ’68 Center for Career Exploration for this transformational learning opportunity. I choose an internship I was genuinely passionate about, and oYA has left me seeking more ways to engage with entrepreneurship. I have begun devouring books on the subject matter, most recently What it Takes by Stephen Schwarzman and Zero to One by Peter Thiel. It has confirmed that I want to pursue a career as an entrepreneur as I love to build new things. I am passionate about football because it gives me a strong sense of purpose in what I am doing, as I am constantly building towards something alongside people that I care about and love to be around. Entrepreneurship invigorates me in the same way. I am excited to continue pursuing my dream of building a company.