In 2014, I sat down with my co-founders Anthony and Finn and we mapped out a vision for how fitness would evolve over the rest of the decade and beyond.
Technologies like wearables had started to emerge and at-home experiences like Netflix made it clear that technology would transform when, how, and where we exercise. My co-founder Anthony had recently started Wellfest, so it was clear that the consumerization of wellness was fast approaching.
Being an aspiring entrepreneur, I had also seen how changes in business models had already transformed industries like transport, retail and even technology itself. Everything is now on demand, the things we consume and even the software we use to run our business.
One innovation that I could see was less of a technological shift and more of a cultural one. It was the concept of the group. It was something that my background in sport had already exposed me to. The cultural shift of exercise not as a chore but rather a social affair, taking the lonesome gym-goer lifting weights or running on the treadmill into a communal space with a team behind them, helping them train and getting fit together.
When it came to starting our business, we could see that that group fitness was going to be big. But we also saw that for fitness businesses to be successful, they needed more than a trainer and a studio. They needed concepts, branding, and ways to communicate with their members. They needed ways to attract members and ways to retain them. Above all, they needed easy, efficient ways to understand the status of each member so they could build authentic relationships and really create outcomes for each member, from one studio to 100. These successful businesses are no longer in group fitness, they are in Boutique Fitness.
That’s why we started Glofox in 2014 with an initial investment from Notion Capital in London, Partech in Paris, Tribal VC in Dublin and Growing Capital in Dublin. With that money, we built a platform capable of scaling across 45 countries – taking payments, managing classes and memberships and being available on the web, mobile, social media and fitness marketplaces like Classpass in each one. We opened offices in Dublin, Sydney and Los Angeles for 24-hour customer support and we grew our capabilities from servicing single-location studios to global franchises.
With this new round of investment from Octopus Ventures, we are preparing for the next step in the evolution of Boutique Fitness. Some of the funds will be invested in sales, marketing, and customer support so that we can continue to grow and keep our customers happy. But the majority of it will be invested in expanding our platform. The next wave of boutique fitness businesses will need software that is connected to all other systems they use, is embedded in the lifestyle of their customers inside and outside the gym, and is intelligent – helping them gather data and make business decisions without the need for a Ph.D.
Watch our product newsletter for upcoming releases and strategic partnerships.
To our customers, thank you for your support through every stage of our growth so far. We look forward to being a bigger and better platform for you to grow your business.
To our team in the US, Ireland, Australia, the UK and across the globe, thank you for joining our movement and believing in our mission.
And to our investors, old and new, we look forward to working with you, our customers and our team to help shape the future of fitness.