Ed Buckley, PhD of Peerfit

An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Ed Buckley, PhD, the founder and CEO of Peerfit, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of Peerfit – what problem were you trying to solve and why?

In 2011, I was pursuing a doctorate in Digital Health Behavior at the University of Florida (while working as a fitness instructor part-time). My academic research focused on user behavior and the effects of peer-to-peer motivation, which ultimately became the catalyst for Peerfit. As a fitness instructor, I noticed that some of my students wanted to follow me to other gyms and studios to take my classes, but couldn’t because they were locked into a membership at one location. By creating the ability for a flexible fitness pass, i.e. Peerfit, my students were able to hop around to different studios and classes to have more variety in their workout. We continued to create “passes” for consumers to purchase and realized we wanted to reach a larger audience. We moved into the corporate wellness sector in 2014 and witnessed the need for employers and health plans to provide this as a part of their overall benefits offering.

What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?

This period of time may be it! The startup and entrepreneur life is a constant ebb and flow. Running a growth company in a frozen market and declining economic growth is challenging and how CEOs run companies right now will show the value of the organization after we all get through to the other side. COVID has not spared any industry and we’ve been working hard to pivot in order to provide the most value to our clients so we can continue to provide a great product and experience for our users.

What does the future hold for Peerfit?

We have always been a company that stays heads down and focused on the goals at hand. We will continue to provide our products to health plans and employers so users ages 18-80 can use Peerfit to easily lead more healthy and active lifestyles.

What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Tampa?

Tampa is becoming one of the most vibrant tech scenes in the nation, in my opinion. It’s in a beautiful location, investor support and opportunities have grown exponentially, we are seeing an influx of startups/incubator spaces, and the amount of resources available to businesses is aplenty. Startups that are hungry and passionate will see lots of success if they base themselves in Tampa.

What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Stay scrappy and focused. It’s easy to get distracted by the glamour of being an entrepreneur and heading up a sexy startup. There is no such thing as an overnight success and striving for unicorn status is exactly as it sounds: a fantasy. Work hard, put your blood, sweat, and tears into your business and your employees, and build the business of your and their dreams. Because when you invest in your company and the people who helped you build it, the long term success you accomplish tastes so much sweeter.


For more exclusive interviews, see our full Profile of a Founder series