PureGym founder backs start-up personal training app as exercise goes digital

Personal training apps are helping people follow bespoke exercise plans anywhere at any time  (PA)
Personal training apps are helping people follow bespoke exercise plans anywhere at any time (PA)

The founder and former chief executive of the Pure Gym chain is moving into digital-first fitness, with a six-figure investment in a start-up personal training app.

Peter Roberts has backed Another Round, which aims to make the kind of bespoke personal fitness plans associated with gym workouts more accessible and available anywhere. He will also join its board.

Another Round was set up by the former professional Mixed Martial Arts fighter Max Cotton in 2018 to liberate personal training from the constraints of the gym. The support from Roberts -- who made his name taking on the established fitness industry with a low-cost chain which grew into one of the UK’s biggest -- comes after the industry took a heavy blow from Covid lockdowns. PureGym lost 12% of its members in 2020, to 1.5 million, and described its losses for that year as “frankly awful” before recovering in 2021.

“Now is the perfect time for Another Round to disrupt how personal training has traditionally been sold,” said Roberts, who was with Pure Gym between 2008 and 2015 before it was sold to private equity for £600 million in 2017.

“Max’s background and attitude combined with the app’s member advocacy impressed me and I’m excited to be on the journey with them to build and lead the way in a new virtual fitness category,” he added.

Another Round will use the proceeds from its capital raising to increase the number of coaches on its books as it prepares to enter the corporate market next year, as the online fitness market grows in line with the popularity of hybrid working patterns.

Max Cotton said: “The pandemic showed us huge personal gains when we embrace remote services. we’re reducing the time it takes to exercise and making it more convenient to invest in your health.”

Another Round uses its own proprietary artificial intelligence to help users reach their goals via in-app training sessions, using videos and personalised guides, as well as offering support from coaches.