Sydney, 28 June 2021: Global Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) gym tech company Wimp 2 Warrior (W2W) is extending its core offering from a gym program to a global platform, via funds secured through the recent closing of an oversubscribed $7.5 million growth round.
The funds come from heavy hitters such as News Corp Scaleup Media Fund, Mark Bouris, the Smorgon family’s Sandbar Investments, Altor Capital, Shaw & Partners, and Lucerne Investment Partners.
W2W was originally targeting $5 million but increased the round by 50 per cent due to enormous demand.
Former Winning Group and Compare the Market technology executive, James Fleet, has been appointed to the newly-created role of W2W Chief Technology Officer to manage the global roll-out of the platform technology, and has already begun to build out W2W’s technology team.
The platform, which is akin to marketplace models like wellbeing technology company, MindBody, is currently being trialled by several gyms to drive customer acquisition, improve retention, and streamline payments and onboarding. This will completely transform the delivery of W2W’s proprietary UFC-inspired MMA programs.
The new tech platform will be rolled out across W2W’s 140+ participating gyms across 9 countries including Australia, the U.K., Ireland, North America, the UAE, NZ, and India, and become available to millions of members, and ultimately any MMA gym in the world.
It will also be used to later launch B2C MMA fitness and training programs which will allow consumers to be trained by the world’s most decorated MMA coaches and athletes from the comfort of their own homes, such as W2W co-founder and coach of Conor McGregor, John Kavanagh.
The oversubscribed raise follows a previous $2 million investment from top Australian executives in W2W in 2018, including ex-MLC CEO Geoff Lloyd, former Foxtel boss Richard Freudenstein, Village Roadshow veteran Graham Burke, and Origin Energy CEO Frank Calabria.
Parent company of the UFC, Endeavor Group Holdings, also recently closed more than half a billion in its NYSE trading debut after UFC Fight Pass subscriptions rose 40 per cent and reported the highest pay-per-view sales in company history during COVID-19.
W2W caters to a global MMA fan base of around 650 million and has been supported by UFC champions Conor McGregor, Israel Adesanya, and Australia’s Alex Volkanovski.
John Kavanagh, co-founder at W2W, said: “The incredible success of the UFC has helped MMA to become the fastest-growing sports vertical in the world. And just as CrossFit made functional training globally popular and highly profitable for strength and conditioning gyms, we aim to do the same for MMA.
“Building an underlying technology similar to MindBody, and rolling out a W2W program distribution strategy that can add 30 to 40 per cent to the top-line revenue of every gym we partner with, will be absolutely transformational for both W2W and our partner gyms.”
Nick Langton, co-founder and CEO at W2W, said: “This fresh capital will be used to accelerate the build of our technology, super-charge our global growth, and attract some of the world’s best executives to take us into the next phase of our development.
“Were it not for the pandemic, W2W would have already eclipsed eight figures of annual revenue last year - though we are still not far behind that. I believe that the most valuable company in the combat sports ecosystem will be the one that converts fandom into participation. Our mission is to do just that, by becoming the end-to-end platform for combat sports academies to connect with and monetise MMA fans globally.”
James Fleet, CTO at W2W, said: “I live and breathe technology due to a strong belief in the power of continuous innovation to deliver business outcomes at any scale. To be able to apply my skills in this area to such a formidable global powerhouse as Wimp 2 Warrior is beyond a dream come true.”
Richard Skimin, managing director at News.com.au & eCommerce, and chairman of Scaleup Mediafund, said: “We are excited to work with the Wimp 2 Warrior team to build their brand. ScaleUp Mediafund will bring audiences at scale to Wimp 2 Warrior so that everyday Australians can experience the impact of life-changing mixed martial arts training.”
Darren Smorgon, managing director at Sandbar Investments, said: "What has impressed us most about W2W is the passion and vision of the co-founder and CEO Nick Langton, who has done a fantastic job alongside fellow co-founder John Kavanagh to attract the highest-profile professionals in the MMA industry. The global reach of MMA also means that the scalability of the business model is potentially huge."
David McNamee, director at Altor Capital, said: “W2W provides a unique exposure for us into the fast-growing mixed martial arts market with some of the best operators with the largest global social media reach. What really attracted us to the investment was the proposition the W2W platform offered to a large but fragmented gym sector, leveraging its customer proposition more powerfully and activating a proven growth strategy. There is clear buy-in and runway for the consolidation of existing players but also a great growth strategy.”
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Please contact Erika Streegan for any interview requests
Erika@ThirdHemisphere.com.au // 0401 788 399
Wimp 2 Warrior (W2W) (www.wimp2warrior.com) is a global mixed martial arts (MMA) fitness platform that partners with MMA academies and gyms around the world to facilitate immersive and transformative proprietary UFC-inspired MMA fight camps.
Current high profile W2W partners include New Zealand’s City Kickboxing (Israel Adesanya), Montreal’s Tristar (Georges St Pierre, Firas Zahabi), Long Island’s LAW MMA (Chris Weidman, Ray Longo), San Francisco’s El Nino Training Center (Gilbert Melendez), San Jose’s American Kickboxing Academy (Javier Mendez), Las Vegas’ Xtreme Couture (Randy & Ryan Couture), SBG Portland (Matt Thornton), and dozens more.
W2W’s executive structure boasts some of the most well-respected names in MMA, including Conor McGregor’s coach, John Kavanagh (Co-Founder and Global Coaching Director), former Viacom/Bellator VP, Talent Rich Chou (VP, North America), and brand ambassador, Laura Sanko.
To date, W2W has partnered with over 140 gyms across nine countries to help more than 10,000 participants complete the “Warrior Training Program”. It expects to launch over 250 new programs during the upcoming year, while rapidly expanding into new territories and gyms.