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03 May 2022
Urban Gym Group raises €16m to fuel European expansion
By Frances Marcellin
Urban Gym Group raises €16m to fuel European expansion
Clubsportive was UGG's first brand, founded by Marjolijn Meijer in 1998. Now the group's brands also include TrainMore, Clubsportive, High Studios, BTY CLB and TRIB3.
Photo: Urban Gym Group
Multi-brand fitness chain Urban Gym Group (UGG) has raised €16m in capital. The funds will be used to drive company growth through acquisitions, branching out to new locations and territories, and expanding the management team.

Currently, UGG’s brands include TrainMore, Clubsportive, High Studios, BTY CLB and TRIB3 – for which it has a master franchise agreement for the Benelux region.

The lead financiers are Rabobank and Dutch Mezzanine Fund (DMF), which invested €5m in loans and €11m in equity, respectively. Investments have also been made by several directors of the company, although joint CEOs, Marjolijn Meijer and Jordy Kool, remain the majority shareholders. This follows a combined €16m investment from Rabobank and DMF in 2018.

Meijer said: “Every euro we raised through the previous funding round has been invested into growth and customer experience. We acquired several gyms in and outside Amsterdam, investing in personnel, equipment and renovations.

“Since 2019 we've opened ten extra clubs in Amsterdam and we're now directing our focus towards expansion: on one hand, through takeovers of gyms or locations with sports destinations, and on the other, we continue to look for suitable properties in major cities.”

Meijer founded Clubsportive in 1998 and opened a second club in Amsterdam two years later. Since then, Urban Gym Group has developed its brands across the city. It operates 22 TrainMore clubs, which encourages members to train by returning €1 of the €35 a month membership fee per visit.

Boutique gym High Studios, founded in 2016 by Barbara den Bak, operates in four locations across Amsterdam and provides three different concepts: High Run, a bootcamp workout; High Ride, a new Soul Cycle-type session; and High Flow, hip-hop-style power yoga. High Studios also has various outlets in TrainMore clubs. BTY CLB, founded by June Mirit, who is also a board member of the UGG, is currently available at TrainMore’s Coolsingel club in Rotterdam, as well as its own studio in Amsterdam East and several nightclubs.

In June 2021, a partnership between TRIB3 CEO Kevin Yates and Urban Gym Group was created to grow the brand across a 20-site expansion in Benelux.

“I’d been in talks with TRIB3’s executive board since late 2020 and really connected with both the concept and the team at the helm of the brand,” explained UGG’s co-CEO Jordy Kool. “I saw straight away the commercial opportunity yielded by the uniqueness of the TRIB3 brand and business model, having invested into TRIB3 International Ltd in Q1. I am looking forward to this next phase of the partnership and having my team be really hands-on in driving the further international expansion of the concept.”

Speaking exclusively to HCM, Meijer said: “We want to grow fast. With TRIB3, for example, we aim to open 15–20 sites over the next three to five years. With TrainMore we hope to get to 40. We’ll have more ‘three-discipline’ High Studios as well – Ride, Run and Flow – plus a few BTY CLB studios and maybe one more Clubsportive. We’re closing contracts for a number of new sites at the moment.”

Kool confirmed that the group will be looking outside Amsterdam for future projects and hinted that Spain was included in current research, naming Barcelona or Madrid as potential location candidates.

“The city would need to have some resemblance to Amsterdam – the same vibe, the same needs and interests among the consumers,” said Kool. “If we do it, and it’s still an ‘if’ at this stage, it will happen in 2022.”

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