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How group training gym The Foundry used their loan to become a successful, six-site franchise 

Funding Stories

How group training gym The Foundry used their loan to become a successful, six-site franchise 

Updated: 15 August 2022

The Foundry, a top-of-the-range gym in London, were finding success at their first site in Vauxhall, but needed a hand with their expansion plans. Here, we speak to director Ben Gotting about the mission behind his business, and how a loan helped them grow into the six-site operation it is now. 

What is The Foundry and what do you do? 

The Foundry is a six-site gym franchise operating around London. What makes us different is that everything we do is group related, so instead of personal training we do small group training up to 6 people, as well as bigger classes. I’m very much a team sports person so we try to create that team vibe and community spirit in all of our gyms. 

How did The Foundry start? 

I’ve been playing rugby since I was eight years old, and what’s special about being involved in a team for me is that camaraderie and being able to rely on others. So when I came out of professional rugby and went into recruitment, I hated it, and decided to do a personal training qualification instead. This then led me to start an outdoor bootcamp for females, which was more of an empowerment group to show that you women shouldn’t be told what they can and can’t do. And that grew and turned into what The Foundry is today.  

What’s the philosophy behind your business? 

Our strapline is ‘Where the strong belong’. We train for strength in the gym, but for me being strong relates to coming out of a bad relationship, or coming out of a job you don’t like. We want everyone to feel like they belong in this gym, no matter what’s going on in their lives. 

We have a membership of around 65% females at the moment, so we’re quite female dominated which is great as women often feel intimidated to go to the gym and they shouldn’t.

We have around 100 members per gym right now, and we’d love to scale that to around 200, but if you compare that to a commercial gym where you may be 1 of 3000 it feels much more like a community. That feeling of being part of a team is something that many people need in their life, so that’s what we set out to achieve. 

What do you love most about your work? 

As a coach you have to work unsociable hours, but I can hand on heart say I’ve never looked at my alarm clock and not wanted to get up. The most important thing for me is for the members to enjoy their sessions. Obviously I want them to be safe and develop in strength, but their workout could be the one hour of the day when they don’t have to think about work or home, so I want it to be fun. And we get that back in spades as well. 

Why did you reach out to Funding Circle for a loan? 

We’d had our gym in Vauxhall for a year and there was another site that we wanted to take on, but we had to kit it out and gym equipment is not cheap. You can pay up to £3,000 for one barbell alone, and when you consider we have around 30 barbells per gym you can see how expensive it can become. So we used the loan to purchase new bikes, barbells, dumbbells and plates and get us ready to open. 

That gym is now a great success for us, and it was the step we needed to grow into our second, third and now six sites that we’re in. 

How was your experience with Funding Circle? 

Funding Circle was super easy to use.  It was quick to get the money, I think it took less than a day for us to get our decision. Most of our experience was over email, so it was pretty much frictionless, and they were always really nice whenever we needed any help.

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