Exercise enthusiasts have plenty of software and app choices to measure various aspects of their health and fitness efforts. But Kristian Bouw sees fitness technology as a fragmented market. There are a lot technologies doing a lot of different things. These technologies don’t talk to each other and it’s hard to share that information in ways typical of social media apps.

That’s where Thryv steps in. The Durham startup developed software that allows users to plan their workouts and track progress over time. Users can share that information with their network – friends, workout partners, teammates or coaches. In explaining the software, Bouw co-founder and CEO of Thryv, points to electronic health records, which aim to collect all of a patient’s medical information in a digital record that is updated regularly and accessible electronically from anywhere. The data belongs to patients and stays with them, even when they change doctors.

“We’re trying to be the electronic fitness record,” Bouw said.

Today Thryv is launching its website with new fitness tools. It’s a milestone Bouw and his co-founders have been working toward for nearly three years. But consumers are not where Thryv will make money. The company is targeting personal trainers.

Thryv’s fitness tools are available in a software-as-a service model. To the public, the software will be free. Thryv aims to generate revenue from personal trainers who can use additional features for a monthly subscription.

Personal trainers keep workout records of each of their clients in order to set track progress over time. For them, the software represents a way to digitize aspects of the personal training business that even today are still pen and paper tasks, said Bouw, himself a personal trainer. Thryv gives personal trainers tools that allow them to maintain and update client records and also track billing. By automating what had been a mostly manual process, personal trainers can spend more time with more clients, enabling them to make more money.

Thryv was borne from Bouw’s own experiences. Back in 2009, he found that record keeping and paperwork limited his time with clients. He mulled the idea for a software solution and in 2011 he founded Thryv with college friends and started developing the software. Bouw and his co-founders bootstrapped the company but Bouw said he has spoken with potential investors in the event Thryv needs to scale quickly. Since October, the company has been working from the Groundworks Labs accelerator space on the American Tobacco campus.

The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, the trade association for the health and fitness club industry, estimates that the United States had 6.4 million personal trainer users in 2011, the most recent available figure. The U.S. Census Bureau lists 250,000 personal trainers. When it comes to targeting the personal trainer market, Thryv considers its main competition pen, paper and folders. Bouw’s market research included conversations with more than 130 personal trainers. He says 95 percent of them still track client progress on paper. And if they’re using software, it’s most likely an Excel spreadsheet. Right now, personal trainers use software just to manage aspects of their business such as billing, Bouw said.

How much personal trainers pay to use Thryv’s system depends on how many clients they have on Thryv. Three or fewer and the tools are free. The monthly subscription scales up, topping at $125 a month to manage between 21 and 40 clients on the system.

Better record keeping isn’t Thryv’s only advantage over paper. Bouw expects the social aspect of the software will help with personal trainers market themselves. That’s because they get most new clients by word of mouth. Thryv enables users to share their fitness record within the Thryv network, or on another social media platform.

“If you talk to any trainer, the strongest method of acquisition is referral,” Bouw said. “With social media and the rise of the social web, people are sharing things more than ever, where they’re going, what they’re doing.”

Peer support helps users stay on track toward their fitness targets. But that information sharing will also help personal trainers, Bouw reasons.

If fitness buffs and personal trainers buy in, it could be the feature that sets Thryv apart from the crowded fitness app market.