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Payal Kadakia

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Biography Payal Kadakia graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in Management Science. After completing her degree she went on to work at Bain & Company as a Senior Associate Consultant. She worked here until 2008, when taking a position as an Associate Director at Warner Music Group.

While tackling the corporate world, Kadakia had another passion, too. From the age three Payal loved dance. She is a world-class dancer. These talents paved the way for Kadakia’s first start-up project. Opening The Sa Dance Company in 2009, Payal served as the Artistic Director at the studio. She is a large part of the success of dance companies at the studio. The studio focuses on Indian Dance, as well as movement inspired by Indian folk, classical, Bollywood, jazz, ballet, contemporary dance, and more. In addition to Kadakia’s achievements at The Sa Dance Company, she is also responsible for the founding of ClassPass.

ClassPass was launched in 2011, using ideas from a previous failed project and life experience. ClassPass is based on the foundation of Classivity. Classivity was Payal’s first project idea that she found to be unsuccessful due to limitations like abuse of promotion codes and too few subscribers. After being mugged on the street in 2011, Payal realized that ClassPass was a better approach. Like Classivity, it allowed users to attend classes through a subscription service, but instead did not restrict users to a certain area or class type. Officially launching in 2011, the company has seen immense success since.

Since the inception of ClassPass, the company now offers classes in over 2,500 studios and received over 40 million dollar in funding in 2015. In addition to Kadakia’s smart subscription service, her love of dance has also driven her to the top. Even with her booming professional life, she still commits herself to dancing three times a week. Payal has a busy life, but keeps up with dance by having access to any of the ClassPass studios located in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and more.

Companies and Investments

ClassPass (Founder, CEO), The Sa Dance Company (Founder, Artistic Director), Warner Music Group (Associate Director, Digital Strategy & Business Development), Bain & Company (Senior Associate Consultant)

Lessons Learned

Often life can throw you curveballs, and the best way you can deal with these surpises is by finding purpose in them. Before launching ClassPass, I was working on the start-up Classivity. It was struggling in its early stages, and success seemed to be challenging. After being mugged one evening, with my laptop and cell phone stolen, I was inspired for a new approach to Classivity. When I was mugged I became away of weak strength. Muscles never seemed important as a dancer, but now I wanted to work for them. This gave way to the idea for ClassPass. ClassPass is a subscription-based service that allows people to try out new gyms and workout venues. This would allow a dancer like myself to sample a self-defense class or other workout of interest through ClassPass subscription. By opening up the options with ClassPass, users can take advantage of a subscription similar to that of music radio, sampling new options monthly. Use your real life experience to identify needs in the business world.

Inspiring Quotes

There is no greater gift you can give or receive than to honor your calling. Its why you were born. And how you become most truly alive.


Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.

Marcel Proust

To dance is to reach for a word that doesn’t exist, to sing the heartsong of a thousand generations, to feel the meaning of a moment in time.

Beth Jones

Positivity is a state of mind you choose to have, but is nourished or impaired by whom and what you surround yourself with.

Parul Somani

Payal Kadakia's Quotes

We require you to commit and have an experience.

Payal Kadakia

It’s about evolving into new products that are going to make people’s lives better.

Payal Kadakia

The No. 1 metric that the whole company stands behind is our reservations number. We obviously need to hit our business metrics, but if the number of classes people are going to starts declining, that’s bad for us.

Payal Kadakia

Some people have that school of thought where fitness isn’t enjoyable, but we’re making it enjoyable, I think, by making it more fun, challenging, and engaging, rather than this boring thing that you have to do. It’s about using technology and data to change this experience

Payal Kadakia

I’ve always had a drive to change the things I saw could be improved and one of the biggest things in my life I’ve felt lucky for was having a passion.

Payal Kadakia

Influential Books

Arthur Golden - Memoirs of a Geisha: A Novel


Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Usha Patel