F45 Co-founder Rob Deutsch Backs The Yard Gym

The Yard

F45 Training co-founder Rob Deutsch joined The Yard Gym as a partner and strategic advisor.

What’s happening: The Aussie boutique fitness franchise, founded by Tiarne and Daniel Bova in 2020, enlisted Deutsch to accelerate expansion. With 18 existing clubs – 16 in Australia and two in the US – and 50 licenses sold, the team is targeting 25 operational locations by the end of 2023

Well-rounded. The Yard’s programming features three 50-minute workouts, spanning strength, energy, and endurance, to be combined over a week. Pitched to franchisees as a “luxe” outfit, it touts low overheads and the promise of recurring revenue.

For context: Deutsch was at the helm of F45 until 2019, stepping down as CEO in 2020 and selling off his shares for $145M before the brand’s 2021 IPO netted $1.4B.

A victim of its growth ambitions, F45 scaled rapidly before a series of operational and financial miscues forced the brand to lay off staff, fire its CEO, and delist from the stock market.

Stepping into the CEO role, Tom Dowd is tasked with turning its fortunes around, while Deutsch’s non-compete recently expired, green-lighting his re-entry into fitness.

Boutique Battlefield

Australia has become a functional fitness powerhouse, exporting franchises the world over.

  • BFT – victor of patent wars against F45 – counts 260+ studios in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and the UK while aiming for 1K worldwide.
  • Fitstop, with 130+ locations across Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and the US, plans on adding 80+ in the next 12 months, mainly in Europe and North America.
  • Founded in 2019, S30 has 13 studios and recently sold an MFA in Singapore for 25 locations, with further plans for New Zealand and UAE.

Takeaway: As strength and functional training continue to trend globally, Aussie franchise fitness brands are seizing the moment to scale. Amidst a cost-of-living crisis, low overheads for franchisors and value for members are key – as are growth strategies aligned with market demand over ambition.

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