The £1.3m investment will be used to finance additional new Gymbox sites, initially within London but with an eye on expanding across the UK. Gymbox currently operates gyms in three locations in London: Holborn, Covent Garden and Bank.
Gymbox is a chain which combines a high spec gym offering with a funky, irreverent and fun attitude. The gyms are unique and quite different from more generic main stream ‘white wall’ gyms. The most distinctive features of the clubs are the highly original exercise classes Gymbox choreographs and runs. Classes include ‘Stiletto Workout’, ‘White Collar Boxing’, ‘Pole Dancing’, and ‘Kangoo’, a workout wearing spring loaded boots.
Gymbox was founded in 2000 by Richard Hilton, MD, who has built the firm to a turnover of £4.2m and EBITDA of £1.0m in the year to 31 October 2009. Hilton comments: “We have known the Octopus Ventures team for a number of years now and we are delighted to have secured funding through them to allow Gymbox to expand. We look forward to opening two new sites this year and introducing the Gymbox concept to new regions in London. Future plans include wider expansion throughout the UK.”
Octopus is one of the UK’s fastest growing investment companies with over £1.5bn of funds under management, including the OCfE fund. Octopus specialises in working with entrepreneurs, providing funding solutions and support to develop companies from early stage to buy out. Chris Allner, Managing Director, Octopus Ventures said: “We are very impressed with Gymbox. Its management team, led by Richard Hilton, clearly demonstrate a strong vision and drive for growth, with one of the most interesting brands we’ve encountered. We have every confidence Gymbox will deliver on its growth strategy going forward, and we look forward to working with them.”
Commenting on the level of business Octopus Ventures has concluded in recent months, Allner continued: “We’re delighted with the number and quality of deals we’ve completed. To achieve such high volume in just four months is a fantastic achievement, and the deals cover the full range of our funding activities from early stage to mezzanine and growth capital. The market has undoubtedly turned and is now more receptive to venture funding, which our recent activity proves. Of course, it is not just about providing money. Our business offers sound advice and active support, helping companies on their way to achieving growth and exploiting their true potential.”
With many companies finding it difficult in recent months to obtain funding during the downturn, particularly through the more traditional routes such as a bank loan, Octopus is in the fortunate position to help companies by filling the funding gap. On top of this, Octopus provides the additional benefits of support and advice, which is particularly valuable during the leaner trading times.