Upmysport also revealed the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust had joined as a UK charity partner to help support underprivileged young people with their own activity goals.
Launched in 2013, the company sought to provide a coordinated approach for both instructors – who may have been reliable with great expertise, but lacked a solid marketing presence – and individuals looking for fitness help and advice.
The digitally-based service allows users to arrange sessions with instructors in a specific activity – booking private sessions or courses, and then updating their phone diary and taking payment. For instructors, the tool functions both as a relationship management and marketing service.
Upmysport hopes to become home to the best instructors across Europe and is based in both Tech City in east London and the popular skiing commune of Chamonix in France. The business previously raised £150,000 under the government’s Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme.
The Angel CoFund, which led the recent round, works alongside groups of business angels to invest in high potential SMEs. It is backed by the British Business Bank and the government’s Regional Growth Fund, and has previously supported companies including YPlan and Micrima.
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Lead angel investor Christian Lorenzen has been appointed to the board as chairman. The former managing partner of Langholm Capital is also a keen skier, cyclist and sailor, and said: “This is a classic case of a tech startup tackling a real problem in a growing market, and one I share the team’s passion to solve.”
The boost in funding will go towards developing upmysport’s online and mobile offerings, as well as increasing strategic partnership opportunities. It had been London-centric, but intends to expand its reach.
The partnership with the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust is also an indication of the direction the platform hopes to progress in. The former Olympic gold medallist set up the trust to help athletes transition from sport and use their skills to help disadvantaged young people in mentoring programmes. It was founded in 2008 and has worked with over 200,000 young people across the country so far.
In a recent interview with Real Business, Holmes said sports people are involved as “they have a great rapport with young people, who have a roller-coaster ride of a life”. She added: “These athletes might also have come from the same environment and situation.”
Nicola Broom, CEO and co-founder of upmysport, said: “The latest round of investment is incredibly exciting. With the market for instructor-led activity gaining ever more focus and growth, the investment puts us in a great position to turn our vision into a reality.”
She added that the range of investors provided useful experience which “is going to be invaluable as we look towards the best path to scale up”.
By Rebecca Smith
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