LONDON, United Kingdom – Hybrid studio and digital fitness platform BLOK has secured £3.75 million in pre-Series A “bridge” funding, the company announced today.
Promoting a sustainable, balanced and multi-disciplinary approach to fitness, BLOK has reported a huge surge in demand post-pandemic for both its three physical sites in London and Manchester, as well as its online offering.
Founded in 2016 by former property developer and restaurant owner Ed Stanbury, Reema Stanbury and close friend Max Oppenheim, its studios have become synonymous with fitness, art and design – all under one roof.
In 2019 the company took the bold step to launch in Manchester. Then in May 2020, the company rolled out its debut digital offering, BLOKtv, producing over 500 videos to meet the surge in demand for physical and mental wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In its first year, BLOKtv usage grew by 35% month-on-month. The company also produced a series of Instagram live classes in partnership with Beats by Dre.
Convinced the future lies in a hybrid-approach to fitness, BLOK currently hosts over 200 live and 500 on-demand fitness classes via its digital platform every month.
BLOK has previously conducted two equity crowdfunding campaigns via Crowdcube, most recently raising £457K for a pre-money valuation of £10.4 million.
“Journey to scale”
This pre-Series A round was led by ACF Investors, with additional investment from Elcot Capital and the Santon Group.
It also included investment from the UK Government’s Future Fund, Crowdcube and angel investor Rob Wirszycz, who will be joining the business as Chairman.
Formerly known as Angel CoFund, ACF has supported more than 100 companies, including British meal kit retailer Gousto, making it one of the most active early stage investors in the UK.
“BLOK began in an empty warehouse and since then we’ve grown to three sites across the UK and have rolled out a comprehensive digital platform, which has experienced very strong growth,” Founder and CEO Ed Stanbury commented.
“Our new hybrid model caters directly to customers’ growing demand for personalised fitness and wellbeing, accessed from anywhere. This investment will accelerate our growth plans and allow us to bring our ground-breaking hybrid on-off line services to a bigger audience.”
New BLOK Chairman Wirszycz added: “I am delighted to be joining as Chairman and supporting this funding round. I believe the team at BLOK has created the hybrid offering and design-led approach that meets the new demands for physical and mental wellbeing.
“I’m excited to be joining them for the next stage of their journey to scale.”
The funding will be used to build upon BLOK’s new hybrid model, which combines in-studio, at-home and at-office programmes, all linked through a single digital platform.
To support further growth, the company said it plans to welcome a number of key additions to its management and sales teams, while continuing to invest in its tech platform.