Making Startups Fitter is Not Too Taxing with Machtfit

By Toni Ellis |

It’s no secret that Berlin startups aren’t known for their healthy lifestyles. Late nights programming sessions fueled by Club Mate and pizza leave little time for exercise and eating right. And while some may have embraced fresh fruit deliveries to working spaces, Berlin-based Machtfit are now motivating startups to hit the gym.

Founded last year, Machtfit, as the name suggests – it loosely translates to “Makes you fit” – is aiming to make companies fitter. The idea is that fitter, healthier and more active employes are more likely to enjoy their workplace more, as well as get sick less.

Machtfit offers an online platform that connects companies with a range of fitness and sports providers in a way designed to benefit all three parties – the employers signing up to the service who can provide a better work place; the sports studios who gain a network of new clients; and the employees who receive an automatic 10 percent discount rate from using the service.

Co-Founder and CPO Gregor Bierhals told Silicon Allee: “We started about a year ago with the idea of ‘Why can’t every company provide a great working environment for their employees?’ Eventually we realised that there’s a law in Germany that allows companies to subsidize fitness for their employees – in the form of Section 3 of the income tax act No. 34.”

Gregor added: “As we offer the sports providers a good value proposition by bringing in a new group of regular clients, they make the price 10 percent cheaper, which is already a benefit to the customer. Then the company can say how much of the percentage of the courses their employes take part in they’ll pay with regards to the tax act – employees can end up with a huge saving on sports classes, all at a tax deduction for the employer.”

Once signed up, companies receive their own domain name and a custom site on the platform, as well as a comprehensive list of all the available fitness providers. Users can then sort through the offers via time and date of lessons, location, price and type of sports the want to participate in.

Silicon Allee’s custom Machtfit page


Gregor explained that as well as making their employes happier and healthier, the service also removes barriers for employees looking to take advantage of the tax act: “If companies were to do this without our service, it would take a lot of time and work to figure out which studios are eligible under the Tax act. You’d also have to figure out what employees want. We’ve provide such a large range of sports and activities, and additionally take care of all the billing – there’s not much more work that signing up for employers.”

Currently the sport providers Machtfit offer are mostly independent sports studios. However, to provide more options for employees, they are also working together with a group of bigger names such as Active Sports, Home Yoga, Spirit Yoga Berlin, Eisenhauer Training and Charité – and the list is growing every day.

Since going live in early 2012, Machtfit has already gained a following in the startup scene, with companies like 6Wunderkinder signing up for the service. And while money might be tight for some startups, Machtfit want to encourage more startups to take advantage of their automatic 10 percent discount.

As a special offer to Silicon Allee readers Machtfit will waive the initial signup fee when companies quote ‘SiliconAllee’ when joining. So, lazy startups of Berlin, what are you waiting for?