Gymshark: Ex-pizza delivery boy's fitness wear brand valued at over £1bn

·2 min read

A 28-year-old former pizza delivery boy has become one of the UK's wealthiest young entrepreneurs after agreeing a deal which valued his business at over £1bn.

<p>Ben Francis was a 19-year-old student when he founded Gymshark, a fitness clothing brand, from his parents' garage in 2011.</p><p>Mr Francis rapidly expanded the company after gaining traction on social media.</p><p>He confirmed on Friday that the company has sealed an investment deal which will value the company, which is based in Solihull in the West Midlands, at more than £1bn.</p><p>It gained the mammoth valuation after the US-based private equity firm General Atlantic sealed an investment in the company to take a 21% stake.</p><p>The deal will value Mr Francis' stake, of around 70% of the company, at more than £700m.</p><p>The retail business currently employs around 500 staff and raked in revenues of over £250m in its last fiscal year.</p><p>Mr Francis said: "It has been an incredible ride over the last eight years to get to this point, but today signals the next chapter in the Gymshark story.</p><p>"We are nothing without our community, so we will use this new investment partnership to get even closer to them on a truly global scale.</p><p>"I'm incredibly proud of what Gymshark has achieved to date from our roots in Birmingham, but it's all about looking forward.</p><p>"I firmly believe Gymshark has the potential to be to the UK what Nike is to the US and Adidas is to Germany, and today is a significant step to realising that."</p><p>Gabriel Caillaux, co-president, managing director and head of General Atlantic's European business, said: "We believe Gymshark is an authentic, disruptive and differentiated brand.</p><p>"Against a backdrop of rising social media usage, rapid growth of e-commerce and increasing focus on health and wellness, Gymshark is positioned to seize the opportunity of further growth."</p>