WIT Fitness secures GBP1.5m follow-on funding
WIT Fitness, a London-based sportswear retailer, has secured an additional GBP1.5 million in follow-on funding from growth capital investor VGC Partners after growing revenues by 56 per cent in the last year.
Activated by ecommerce, WIT Fitness sells high-quality branded training footwear and activewear apparel in the UK, US and Europe. It also operates a store in London St Paul’s, which houses a state-of-the-art gym. The company was founded in 2014 by former athlete Dan Williams and sports retail expert Sam Kitching.
In the last year, WIT Fitness has launched two exclusive sneaker collaborations with Adidas and Reebok; the Adipower II x WIT and WIT x Nano 9, respectively. It has also launched its own brand of clothing, the WIT editions collection. Following Nike’s decision to scale back the number of its global retail partners from 30,000 to just 40, WIT Fitness makes up one of only 14 strategic partners in the UK.
During 2019, WIT Fitness opened a series of pop-up stores, including a Nike collaboration store in Paris, a pop-up store at the CrossFit Games in Madison, and several others at other major events such as Wodapalooza, Miami. This activation has helped boost sales from the US and the company has since established a distribution centre in Houston, Texas.
The strength of WIT Fitness’ ecommerce offering has meant the company has continued to trade well throughout the UK and US lockdown period, achieving significant year-on-year growth multiples overall and particularly in the US.
VGC Partners, founded by Parminder Basran, initially invested GBP2 million in the business in February 2019, which has been used to enhance its online platform and funded the international pop-up stores. As part of the deal, Nick Adcock, CEO of Spyder Active Sports and former global president of DC Shoes, was appointed as Non-executive Chairman.
The follow-on funding provided by VGC Partners will be used to expand market share across all functional fitness categories, such as high intensity interval training (HIIT) and CrossFit, and bring more exclusive branded products to the market. The company is also investing in developing its technology platform to ready it for the next growth phase as it looks to take a bigger slice of the US market.
Dan Williams, founder of WIT Fitness, says: "Our vision is to become the global authority on training footwear and apparel and we are well on our way to achieving this mission. The work we are doing with the world’s biggest brands such as Nike and Reebok sets us apart from the competition, and our strong ecommerce offering has helped us get a foot in the European and US markets. With further backing from VGC Partners, we can strengthen our e-commerce platform so that we can offer a truly best-in-class service to our customers, and we are striving for even stronger growth over the next 12 months.”
Parminder Basran, Managing Partner at VGC Partners, says: "The founders of WITFitness, Dan and Sam, have performed exceptionally well, with their execution of ecommerce, experiential shopping and product activation. This has led to rapid growth, which is why they have been able to forge strong relationships with the likes of Nike, Adidas and Reebok. We are very excited to back the next phase of growth and use our network to help the business expand further."
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, WITFitness has repositioned to support its community in exercising and maintaining their wellness regimes from home, whether existing gym members or anyone that enjoys functional fitness training. This includes daily free workouts, tips and interviews via the website and social media from top athletes and brand partners.