Posted on April 13, 2017 by staff

Manchester fitness platform eyes international expansion


A Manchester-based platform which connects fitness professionals with the public is eyeing international expansion after securing £100,000 in funding.

MagnaPass is an online health and fitness booking service founded by CEO Adam Barker and COO Sean Downey in 2016.

The idea behind the business is to highlight classes run by independent studios and freelancers. It features a diverse range of activities, such as yoga, swimming, crossfit, boxing, HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and even rock climbing.

Barker told BusinessCloud that it now has 90 ‘partners’ running 250 classes in Greater Manchester, with yoga and HIIT the most popular with users.

“Myself and Sean had the idea of allowing personal trainers and fitness professionals to create their own fitness and nutrition plans,” he said.

”We dug a bit deeper and found that it was something they wanted to do, but didn’t have the time or capacity to do it: they spent too long trying to organise classes and their own sessions – and the capacity gap was still there.

“MagnaPass allows people to gain access to these really cool places that you might not have known about and for the studios and freelancers to fill their capacity.”

MagnaPass gives users the opportunity to purchase experiences – which might include breakfast, for example – and gift vouchers. There are also tips on nutrition, recipes and a video series.

It takes a 15 per cent cut on transactions and has free users as well as premium members, which pay £10 a month for unlimited experiences, discounts and content. It is running a £5-a-month offer in April which can be redeemed on the website.

Barker says it scours social media such as Instagram for potential partners, but that tapping into the ecosystem through “word of mouth” is especially important.

“We have this knack of going out ourselves and finding these really cool little studios and spaces that just need a bit of a helping hand,” he continued.

“Partners will also introduce us to other potential partners… they tend to attend classes as well [as hold them]. We also take feedback from users.”

MagnaPass secured its £100k funding round after pitching to a consortium of North West-based angels through Business Growth Hub’s Access to Finance service, for which Barker reserved high praise.

That takes its funding to date to £150k, with plans for a further round a £200k in the pipeline.

“We want to move to a new location [in Manchester] and take on a head of marketing,” he said.

“We’re looking to solidify ourselves across the North to begin with – places like Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, Edinburgh – before we hit London.

“We’ve already built up some traction in terms of partners who are interested in taking our platform to those cities.

“By 2020 I hope we’ll be able to expand internationally. We’re looking at markets in the US, Asia and Western Europe – even Dubai.

“We’re looking to grow city by city.”