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The Gym Group – Number 5 in the Startups Top 100 survey

Social responsibility features high on the agenda for The Gym, which brings affordable health and fitness to all sectors and income levels highlighted by the fact that up to 40% of members have never used a gym before. The Gym also prides itself on its green credentials – over 70% of equipment is powered by users; the joining process is paperless; cleaning products are chemical-free and cleaning equipment used 70% less water than conventional machines; over 90% of building waste was recycled from the building of their recent Kingston site. After an exciting and productive 2010, the Gym Group, the UK’s fastest-growing low-cost gym operator, have secured £20 million to fund its expansion plans. This funding will enable the company to continue its ambitious schedule of gym openings across the UK and further consolidate its position as market leader. Financial backing for the growth strategy consists of further incremental commitments from lead investor Bridges Ventures and a revolving credit facility from HSBC. Commenting on the announcement, CEO, John Treharne, said: “Prevailing economic conditions mean that for many businesses access to new sources of funding remains limited. Our ability to secure substantial financial backing from such respected finance providers at a time when capital is so constrained is testament to the robustness of The Gym’s business model and our continued delivery against its objectives. “This funding will allow us to focus on bringing affordable gyms to more consumers across the UK. We are on target to reach a total footprint of 50 gyms over the next two years.” The funding will enable The Gym to continue its ambitious expansion strategy with the focus on densely populated residential and city centre retail/mixed use regeneration developments across the UK, to which The Gym brings footfalls of over 1,000 people daily. The Gym was backed at its inception in 2007 by Bridges Ventures (, a sustainable growth investor with a mission to use its commercial expertise to achieve focused social or environmental benefit, as well as attractive returns for investors. CEO John Treharne, former accountant and England squash player, has an established history in the industry having set up publicly quoted Dragons Health Club Group in the 1990s. The first Gym opened in Hounslow in June 2008 and since then the company has rapidly expanded to a total of 14 sites across the UK with plans to acquire up to 20 additional sites in 2011. The Gym was most recently ranked no.5 in the Start ups Top 100 survey. Anne-Marie Harris, Investment Director at Bridges Ventures, added: “In spite of wider economic conditions, The Gym Group is thriving. Under the leadership of its founder and executive management team the business has achieved rapid roll out and significant growth during a period of unprecedented economic uncertainty. While recent research reveals that two thirds of consumers are still worried about the future of the economy, this has done little to curtail the growth in membership at The Gym’s locations. “Our decision to back The Gym centres on its vision to bring accessibility, affordability and flexibility to the health and wellbeing sector. This has been a winning formula and is closely aligned with Bridges Ventures’ core principle to invest in companies that achieve positive social and environmental impact as well as providing superior financial returns for investors. In a very short space of time, The Gym has established itself as a successful business idea that addresses an important social need amongst traditionally excluded groups; for example up to 40% of members at some Gym sites have never been to a gym before.” Open 24 hours a day, with no minimum contract, no punishing tie-ins or lengthy membership process, The Gym’s state of the art facilities can be accessed for just £15.99 per month – according to industry sources at least three times cheaper than the cost of joining the average mid-market or premium UK gym. Over 50,000 members have already joined.


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