Entrepreneur, writer, speaker and musician are some of the attributes of Julián Torres. Learn about the trajectory of the founder and CEO of Fitpal, the startup that is transforming the gym industry in Latin America.
If an entrepreneur must have something, it is determination, courage and the ability to execute. Julián Torres has a lot of that, but he’s also defined by a touch of obsession to create and launch companies. Join us on this observation trip to one of the most seasoned Latino entrepreneurs of the moment and get involved in his innovative spirit.
The story of Julián Torres
Julián Torres Gómez is a Colombian business administrator, graduated from Los Andes University in Bogotá. From the beginning of his studies, he was clear that he did not want to be an employee of a transnational corporation as most of his colleagues. In fact, while he was studying, he founded a restaurant and a travel agency.
But let’s look a little further back in Julian’s life to find out where his entrepreneurial spirit came from. One of the figures who had a strong influence on him was his maternal grandfather who instilled discipline in him through the motto “first duty and then pleasure.” On the other hand, in his parents he always found the support to do what made him happy.
Other concepts deeply rooted in Julián’s personality throughout his life were perseverance and commitment. Focusing on fulfilling assigned tasks before due date was always a premise for him.
Undoubtedly, creativity is another innate characteristic of Julián. His dream at age 8 was to be an inventor and growing up he increasingly embraced the idea of “being and doing something different”. His artistic streak was awakened by music, but playing guitar was not enough in his quest to gain a competitive advantage over his schoolmates, so he even dared to compose songs and form a band.
His passion and dedication began to pay off ever since. Thus, being very young, he managed to record 4 singles with the most famous label in the Colombian capital at that time, together with his group Sonido Local.
This experience prompted him to initiate audio production studies at the university level. However, he did not feel comfortable and decided to change careers. Finally, he found in business administration an alternative to train in something that would serve him later for everything.
The journey that would change his life
Upon graduating from university, Julian had a strong desire to experience the world and could think of nothing better than traveling to China. The selection of this exotic and distant destination was precisely with that idea of adding value to his life by doing something out of the ordinary.
But it was not quite a jump into the void without a parachute. Cleverly, Julián earned with effort and dedication a vacancy for a job in a company in the Asian country, demonstrating his skills for 6 months at a branch in Bogotá.
While in Beijing, day by day he was learning aspects of the world of imports and exports in his office work. But he was always looking for something more.
He began to teach guitar in his spare time and suddenly he was participating as a musician in corporate events and awards shows on television, as well as having the opportunity to venture into film as an extra in a movie. Conveniently, Julian’s Latin heritage was an interesting element to the Chinese.
These enriching experiences allowed Torres to show himself what he was capable of achieving. At that moment he thought he was ready to start a great business in his home country. His idea was to introduce a unique and innovative product to the Colombian market, brought from Korea.
A short time later, Julian was doing the same thing as Will Smith in “The Pursuit of Happiness” trying to sell a smart toilet lid that made those who showed it laugh. After having invested millions in the purchase and import of a container full of the flagship product, he managed to capture prospects who could never become customers because the lid was not compatible with the characteristics of Colombian toilets.
The lack of planning and the impulsiveness of an adventure was a mistake that culminated in failure. Despite everything, Julian didn’t stop there, he learned his lesson and moved on.
It was time to recover by accepting a “normal job” as a consultant in a human talent recruiting company and later in inQlab, one of the most important incubators for technology startups in Colombia.
The birth of Fitpal
Julian had finally come to the perfect place at the right time. inQlab allowed him to combine his creativity, innovation, academic knowledge and life experiences to generate ideas and test ventures with potential for development and scalability.
Among several projects that came forward as a result of his work at InQlab, Fitpal’s proposal was born, which was approved by the investment committee with Torres as founder and CEO.
What is Fitpal?
Fitpal is an application that through different subscription plans gives access to a network of gyms and fitness centers. It was launched in 2015 and currently offers a mixed model between unlimited face-to-face or virtual classes with availability of more than 700 gyms located in 13 cities in Colombia.
Fitpal’s services are distributed in 3 divisions:
- Physical: functional, rumba, dance, boxing and nutrition.
- Emotional: meditation, coaching and yoga.
- Community: family cooking and entertainment spaces.
Another outstanding achievement of Julián Torres was the publication of his book La Estupidez Colectiva, in 2019. This work explains the elements that must be considered when starting a business, in addition to inviting people to take an eye-opening path in order to live the life they’ve dreamed of. Currently, it is one of the best-selling books in the business and entrepreneurship category.
To end this interesting story, we leave a reflection of this great Latin entrepreneur: “everyone has ideas, but only some have the courage to put them to the test.”