Amid expansion, ClassPass looks to fill 150 jobs in Missoula over first five years

ClassPass, which connects members to fitness studios and gyms through technology, looks to fill 75 jobs in Missoula over the next two years, and between 100 and 150 over the next five years as it expands its global reach. (ClassPass photo)

The executive team from ClassPass will arrive in Missoula next week to open its new office in the Millennium Building and put its first Montana employees to work as the company expands its global reach.

On Thursday, Missoula County commissioners authorized the Missoula Economic Partnership to submit a job-creation grant with the Montana Department of Revenue to help the company recover some costs associated with opening the new downtown office.

Tom Aveston, the company’s chief financial officer, said ClassPass plans to fill 45 jobs this year in customer service, sales and accounting, with 30 more positions possible the following year.

“A big part of that is to support our expansion,” Aveston said. “We believe we can scale this Missoula office up to 100 to 150 people over the next five years to support that global expansion. We believe our salaries and bonus schemes are competitive in the market, and we have a generous benefits package with 20 days paid leave.”

Aveston placed the cost of opening the new Missoula office at $5 million over the next two years.

Last month, ClassPass announced plans to locate its third North American office in Missoula, adding the Garden City to existing offices in New York and San Francisco.

That announcement followed months of work by MEP and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, along with site visits by company employees. Forbes has listed ClassPass as a “Next Billion Dollar Startup,” and Aviston said the company was eager to sink roots in Missoula.

“You guys have a fantastic, highly educated workforce,” Aveston said. “It’s a great place to live and it’s really aligned with our culture and company. The range of outdoor activities was really appealing to us as well. We came to visit and just fell in love.”

In a conference call on Thursday, Aveston detailed the company’s growth over the past few years and its plans for 2018. It looks to expand into Hong Kong and Singapore this year, as well as suburban markets in the U.S.

That represents a shift away from the company’s early city-centered strategy.

“It’s where the majority of our customers are today and where most of our studios are,” Aveston said. “But we know there’s a lot of demand for studio fitness and for an aggregator outside the city centers. That’s a key element of our strategy this year, both in terms of acquiring studios, partnering with studios in suburban markets, and in new cities as well.”

The company currently claims more than 270,000 fitness subscribers. The service provides access to more than 1 million classes, benefiting both its members and its 8,500 gym and studio partners in 49 worldwide cities.

The company’s technology enables subscribers to determine when a fitness class is available. It gives patrons more flexibility while helping studios and gyms sell their unused inventory.

To meet the growing demand for studio fitness, Aveston said the company is also adjusting its pricing model to offer a wider range of memberships. It also plans to launch a home-based fitness program later this year.

That effort is aimed at rural markets that lack a variety of studio and gym options, Aveston said.

“We’re launching an in-home experience where you plug a chrome-cast device into a television and you wear a heart-rate monitor,” he said. “We have a production studio in Brooklyn, and you wear this heart-rate monitor and your effort is translated into a score you see on the leaderboard. We’ll be launching that nationwide in the early March timeline.”