- The 2020-founded company is due to open its first physical retail space in London’s Seven Dials next month in time for the New Year health drive
- DTC startup completed a £3 million seed round at the start of 2021 with investment from Sir Rod Aldridge, Founder and former Executive Chairman of Capita, and Eddie Jordan OBE, former Formula 1 boss and entrepreneur
- Apex also announced a content partnership with Universal Music UK, the launch of off-the-bike strength, mobility and pre-and post-natal classes, and hinted at plans to expand its product offering “beyond the bike”
LONDON, United Kingdom — British at-home spin bike Apex, positioned as an accessible alternative to its numerous rivals, is gearing up to open its first physical retail space in London’s fashionable Seven Dials this December.
The shop will be an experiential space where consumers can test drive the bike, get to know the brand and even meet instructors — and Apex looks to have beaten market leaders Peloton to the punch.
The New York City-based brand was due to open a 30,000 sq ft exercise studio and filming space in Covent Garden in September, but is yet to make true on that promise.
Peloton has remained tight-lipped on the hold up, only saying that “the safety, health and wellbeing of our employees, members and communities remain our top priority,” the Evening Standard reported.
“As an early-stage startup that launched during the pandemic, Apex hasn’t really had an option but to sell exclusively online – and this is a shame because we have a very physical product, and we want to show it off,” Apex Co-founder Simon Cook told Welltodo.
“Our new space in Seven Dials will finally give our prospective customers a hub to come and try the bike but also give our existing customers a site to come and engage with Apex in ways they haven’t been able to yet, for instance meeting the instructors and team.
“We’ll have coffees and juices at the ready,” he added.
Apex’s founders are under no illusion of the challenges they face in a fiercely competitive market – one where consumers have never had so much choice and companies are under intense scrutiny from investors and shareholders alike.
However, for now, the brand is embracing flying under the radar of the likes of Peloton while it focuses on being agile and responding to its loyal customer base. The hope is that its new experiential retail space will demonstrate what truly sets it apart.
“Technology over the past few years has changed a lot of things — the way we exercise is a good example — but also the way we shop. What were once very transactional spaces, now need to go that extra mile in offering an experience,” said Cook.
“Given that our bike is not the kind of product you can carry home on the tube, our physical site will very much be about the experience of what our classes are like, exemplified through music and mood.”
Apex X Universal Music UK
To date, Apex has been one of Britain’s leading success stories to emerge from the pandemic. An initial pre-sale campaign launched in April 2020 generated 2,500 pre-orders of the bike over a six month period, followed by the completion of a £3 million seed round at the start of 2021.
Soon after, Apex enlisted popular boutique studio brand Boom Cycle to create exclusive classes for its users, while also launching live classes for the first time.
“Our live classes required significant software development work and testing. Fortunately, our community helped us with the process and we hosted close to 200 riders on our first ever live class,” said Apex Co-Founder Charlie Lucas.
Now the company — which boasts around 3,500 users, 12 instructors and 20 full-time employees — plans to diversify its content further to appeal to an even broader spectrum of consumers by adding off-the-bike strength and mobility classes, pre and post-natal classes, and ‘Apex Sessions’, having teamed up with Universal Music UK.
The partnership with Universal will allow the music company’s artists to curate their own playlist for Apex users to workout to, and presumably help Apex overcome the thorny issue of music licensing that has punctured several other digital fitness brands’ progress in recent years.
The co-founders even welcomed the reopening of gyms earlier this year. “Gyms reopening has been a big positive for the entire fitness market — the more people doing active exercise, the better,” said Lucas.
“It’s truly important that we continue to diversify our content and keep it appealing,” added Cook.
“Apex now has around 3,500 users, which is a figure we are hugely proud of. But the most important KPI to us is how often our customers are willing to get back in the saddle.”
Apex has always embraced an “inclusive brand proposition”, targeting everyday people rather than the typical triathlete Ironman or woman.
And while Cook said that the brand’s messaging and more accessible price point (currently down to £900 from £1200 during Black Friday) has resonated with consumers typically more hesitant to invest in their wellness, it’s also meant they’ve had to work that extra bit harder to keep their user base engaged — ”because they are more likely to fall off the proverbial wagon”.
“Having said that, Apex’s user engagement is currently running at an average 2.6 classes per week per user, which is industry leading, so we must be doing something right,” he revealed.
A key theme of Apex’s upcoming content will be tapping into the emotional side of exercise, in line with a recent survey the brand conducted that showed 85% of people exercise to change their mood.
As such, Apex promoted the fun and feelgood factor of their brand in a recent TV ad and has introduced Ride Remedies, co-created by a behavioural psychologist that combines meditation with spinning, to help users unwind and decompress while in the saddle.
And while home fitness giant Peloton is suing rivals Echelon and iFit over claims they infringed patents, the Apex founders are determined to take a more relaxed spin on any bumps in the road they might come across.
“The supply chain issues we experienced in 2020 have luckily subsided to a degree. We have a good level of stock on shore in preparation for Christmas and the big January health push, and we are already working on expanding our product offering beyond the bike, so stay tuned,” said Lucas.
“With the world emerging from the pandemic, ease of travel and movement of goods making international expansion less complex, we already have our eye set on multiple European countries to expand into in 2022.”