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19 May 2022

F45 targets military veterans as franchisees and launches $300m loan financing deal with Fortress
BY Frances Marcellin

F45 has joined forces with investment group Fortress to provide loans to franchisees

F45 has joined forces with investment group Fortress to provide loans to franchisees
photo: F45

Following a history of supporting US military and service members, F45 has announced a new initiative called F45 After, which offers US military personnel exclusive financing to become franchisees. While the programme has only just launched, the company has already received 2,500 inquiries from potential candidates to open new franchises.

“F45 is proud to be the first fitness company in the world authorised by the US Department of Defense to work with active-duty service members,” said F45's Michael Nichols. “Through F45 After, we're thrilled to bring on board some of the best trained, most loyal and hardest working people – our military men and women – to become studio owners and operators.”

F45 has also announced a new collaboration with investment group Fortress to provide franchisees with loan financing in the US.

The facility will be funded with an initial tranche of US$150m but demand could push this to US$300m. The capital will support signups from eligible franchisees and grow the F45 studio network.

“Coming out of the pandemic, access to attractive growth capital has become more challenging for small- and medium-sized businesses, especially in the boutique fitness space'" said Adam Gilchrist, CEO of F45. "By establishing a financing solution tailored to the specific needs of our franchisees, we've taken measures to assist them in executing on their growth ambitions while creating greater visibility in our own business.”

Last year F45 revealed ambitions to open up 7,000 studios in the US and pitched it sights on 23,000 worldwide.

The economic resilience of F45’s franchise model during the pandemic was commended by Brian Stewart, MD at Fortress Investment Group. “F45 is a clear category leader in the fitness industry,” he said. “It has proven its resilient franchise economic model during tough economic conditions, as shown by the extremely low closure rates across the US system during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

F45 is the latest company in the fitness industry to join forces with a third-party financier. Mindbody – which provides F45 with its cloud-based software solutions – recently launched Mindbody Capital, a non-traditional loan service designed to fund the growth of their customers’ businesses.

In collaboration with fintech startup Parafin, Mindbody Capital funds clients through their software service, cutting out the need for banks and traditional loan application procedures.

Currently available in the US only, over US$2m has been borrowed by clients so far. Mindbody Capital’s financing model differs from a bank’s because it provides non-recourse financing, a secured loan that isn’t dependent on credit history and for which the borrower isn’t personally liable.

“Almost a third of Mindbody customers plan to expand their business into more locations in the next 12 months,” said Josh McCarter, CEO of Mindbody and Class Pass. “Supporting these businesses in funding their growth is just one of the many ways Mindbody Capital can help the wellness industry rebuild.”

Last year, software company Glofox struck a deal with Stripe Capital to provide health clubs, gyms and fitness studios with instant access to financing. The club management software provider aimed to help clients bounce back from the pandemic.




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