- Online fitness platform, founded by five former Barry’s UK trainers, plans to use investment to open a 4,500 sq ft film studio and build a community-centric app in early 2022
- Financing round led by VC firm Passion Capital — first investors in Monzo Bank, PetTech startup Butternut Box and home massage service Urban — with additional investment from strategic angel investors and via equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs
- “At GRNDHOUSE, we believe having a dedicated and supportive community, exceptional trainers and content, and a software-first instead of hardware-first approach will be key for survival over the next few years,” Co-founder Connor Minney told Welltodo
LONDON, United Kingdom — GRNDHOUSE, the online fitness platform co-founded by five former Barry’s UK trainers, has raised £1.5 million in investment as the company looks to strengthen its hold on the UK’s rapidly growing at-home fitness market.
Topping up the record-breaking $2 billion fitness tech apps raised in 2020, GRNDHOUSE Co-founder Connor Minney said the investment would be used to launch a state-of-the-art 4,500 sq ft film studio and facility.
He added that the money would also be used to build a community-centric app in early 2022, enabling the company to “make the benefits of boutique fitness accessible to everyone”.
Speaking to Welltodo, the former Master Trainer at Barry’s UK emphasised that the investment would enable the company to cater for a broad demographic of members’ wants, needs and abilities.
“Our new film studio will ensure we can pump out multiple brand new classes every single day, which means we can feed off our members’ feedback in real-time and shape the direction of the company for what they truly want,” he told Welltodo.
“We aim to focus our marketing energy on educating our future community of the huge physical and mental health benefits of strength training, and breaking down the barriers that keep so many from trying it.”
Minney added that at £19.99 per month, GRNDHOUSE users would be benefiting from hundreds of classes to choose from, all for the price of one single London boutique fitness class.
Fake boom in digital fitness?
Since launching at the start of 2021 when the UK was under strict coronavirus lockdown restrictions, GRNDHOUSE has made rapid progress.
Within its first month of operations, the company had secured 1,000 subscribers. Now, within its first year, it’s already built a library of more than 400 on-demand classes, each including progressions and regressions to cater for all fitness abilities.
That early success has followed a 12 month period of stratospheric growth for the at-home fitness market. Between Q1 and Q2 2020, health and fitness app downloads grew by 46% worldwide, according to MoEngage. At the same time, 80% of surveyed Mindbody users said they used fitness streaming services weekly, up from just 7% in 2019.
Now, Minney said, one of the greatest tests GRNDHOUSE will face is maintaining its current trajectory and keeping its community on side.
“It’s a competitive landscape. There are a lot of products surfacing off the back of Peloton’s success, and the industry is facing scepticism on whether the pandemic caused a fake boom in digital fitness and if the growth is actually sustainable,” he said.
“At GRNDHOUSE, we believe having a dedicated and supportive community, exceptional trainers and content, and a software-first instead of hardware-first approach will be key for survival over the next few years.”
Get that right, he said, and the sky’s the limit. “With a committed community, the opportunities for where you can take it once you’re successful are endless.”
Integral to building that community will be the new app GRNDHOUSE plans to launch in early 2022. “The app will allow members to create their own profile, follow and be followed by the trainers and fellow members, gather data, collect awards and post their results overlaid with a selfie on their timeline for the community to champion and inspire each other.”
This, Minney said, would enable members to connect within the app after their training session with other like-minded individuals instead of relying on other social media platforms to find their community.
Diversity a competitive advantage
While GRNDHOUSE hopes the digital fitness bubble doesn’t burst, its latest financing round, led by venture capital firm Passion Capital, suggests the at-home fitness boom shows no signs of slowing.
And while a new raft of coronavirus lockdown restrictions is being imposed across the continent, perhaps that’s driven by more than just a shift in consumer behaviour from working out at the gym to working out at home.
Commenting on the raise, Eileen Burbidge, Partner at Passion Capital insinuated as much.
“We believe the future of work and life, in general, will be hybrid and while many individuals may want to get personal training in a gym, many more will appreciate the privacy and convenience of strength training in the comfort of their homes, places of work or even while travelling,” she said.
“The GRNDHOUSE founders are best in class as trainers but also in respect to their commitment and passion to deliver the highest quality strength training to people wherever they are.
“Even more crucially, their team diversity and positivity is their competitive advantage in attracting an ardent community of users from all over the world. We are thrilled to be a part of the GRNDHOUSE journey and can’t wait to see more and more people benefitting from the platform.”
GRNDHOUSE Co-founder Louis Rennocks added: “This investment enables us to level up our offering and expand our online presence offline with a physical studio launch. We believe community will be a key part in our growth and that’s why we’re so excited about the connective functionality of our app.
“We want to create a unique community vibe giving consumers the opportunity to train with work colleagues, friends and family wherever they are in the world, with workouts led by the best trainers in the world.”