Irish businessman Conor O’Loughlin has a unique set of interests: computer science and rugby. After suffering an injury that prematurely ended his professional rugby days, he channeled his energy into building a fitness-focused startup called Glofox.
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His company, which sells software to boutique fitness studios, recently picked up a $10 million Series A. The round was led by Octopus Ventures, with participation from Partech, Notion Capital, and Tribal VC. It brings Glofox’s total known funding to about $12.7 million.
For readers confused by millennial fitness lingo, let’s break it down.
There are gyms–like Crunch, 24 Hour Fitness, and Equinox (for the bougie types)–and then there are so-called “boutique fitness studios.”
Boutique fitness studios typically focus on one specialized area of fitness from yogalates to CrossFit. This category can include larger chains like Soul Cycle and smaller spots like boxing gyms and Bikram yoga studios.
“In the traditional gym somebody purchases an annual membership and the gym hopes they don’t show up to keep space at a minimum, and it’s a very isolated experience,” O’Loughlin said. “With boutique [fitness]…it’s very much group- and community-themed, and there’s a more social aspect to it.”
That aspect sets boutique fitness studio owners apart when it comes to client and management software, he said. It’s also why he thinks his product can compete with Mindbody, a more generic software provider that works across segments including salons, fitness, dog grooming, and health and wellness.
“We’re being extremely narrow in our target audience,” he said. “It’s very relevant to the boutique fitness studio model, which is more driven around engagement… it’s extremely focused on how boutique fitness studio owners can build and grow their business.”
Glofox’s product gives owners more branding control which is incorporated into studios’ apps, along with features that allow for membership flexibility like trials. The software also includes member insights, which can help owners predict attrition, coupled with CRM and customer engagement tools.
While the company wouldn’t share specific revenue metrics, O’Loughlin told Crunchbase News that Glofox processed over $100 million in bookings on its platform last year. More than 1.5 million customers use the Glofox platform and apps, said O’Loughlin.
Originally based in Dublin, Glofox operates in over 40 countries. The company’s main HQ is now in Los Angeles and it is focusing on its U.S. expansion. This goal is one of the reasons Octopus Ventures (based in London and New York) was a good fit, O’Loughlin said. With 50 percent of Glofox’s revenue and nearly two-thirds of its new leads coming from studios in the U.S., that’s likely a good move.
Illustration Credit: Li Anne Dias