Project Name: TBC

Project Launch: September 2019

Project Setup: July-August 2019

Objective: Source sector defining ideas and concepts and streamline into the Gymshark ecosystem.

Project Objective.

The project has a two fold objective - streamline great ideas from talented individuals into the Gymshark ecosystem & offer a dedicated platform to incubate and accelerate these ideas from concept to cash flow or acquisition. The aim is to not just to bring in future-defining concepts to benefit Gymshark's long term growth, but importantly offer an accessible opportunity for all, by turning ideas into action.

Advanced Materials

Sourcing the next generation of materials, whether gym-wear focused, advanced sustainable sources, or even smart tech driven materials. 

Marketing & Community

Sourcing neuro and psychological tech powered by AI, that can analyse Gymshark community base, and offer a constant data focused edge.

Wearable Tech

Pushing the boundaries of the next generation of health monitoring, audio visual, workout entertainment, bio symbiotic implants and beyond.

Performance Analytics

Tracking training, analysing bio-mechanical performance, social gym apps, and sourcing a technical bridge between gym wear and customer.

Software & Logistics

Creating an internal Gymshark ecosystem. Managing commerce, real-time data, crypto secured payment, and flawless end to end "material to user" system flow.

Health & Gym

Eco energy recovery gyms, healthy sustainable food supplements, revolutionary workout tools, all focused on taking the gym from the iron age to the future.

Goals.

Stay ahead of the competition.

Gymshark operates in a highly competitive environment. Any technical or social edge that can be found, especially at it's earliest concept stage, can seed the beginnings of revolutionary gym-tech that cannot currently be sourced in the current Gymshark ecosystem.

Build dynamic partnerships.

Partnering with people, founders, institutes, groups, and universities that can accelerate Gymshark's mission is vital. The opportunity to create a vibrant scout network that will point new tech, ideas and concepts towards GSHQ in mutual exchange for building the foundation for start-ups in the UK.

Access and empower talented people.

Modern society is not geared towards offering a secure and exciting foundation to pursue market changing companies. Talented people are often lost in a linear system of school, university, job and are never in a financial or knowledge based position to bring concepts to life. Our goal is to give people with less access to changing the world the platform to express themselves, regardless of their current background or circumstance.

Create an innovative hub.

Creating an exciting, structured, valuable, and supportive hub that guides and accelerates concepts, offers a network of vital people and connections, with a focus to bring an early stage idea from concept, to pre-seed, to seed and way beyond. The project needs to source the very best people, solving problems in the right sectors, and then back these founders with a personal plan to build and fund, with the help of Gymshark Executives right though to whole Gymshark team.

Idea Channels.

Efficiently sourcing, separating, and selecting the very best concepts, founders and potential start-ups for Gymshark to invest the vital time and resources will need to be ruthless, but also not use conventional pitching and application methods. Accessing the below channels is just the beginning, the key to the projects success is selecting the correct KPI's and tools best suited to each individual person that applies. We cannot afford to treat this like a job interview - people respond differently to pressure and pre-conceived notions of "what should be done" - as such it is our role to be creative in finding and on-boarding the gems. Think Moneyball. Not Monster.

100 Companies or Concepts Reviewed   ---->   20 Selected to Pitch   ---->   5 Uni Projects & 5 GSHQ/IB Projects Selected

Final Year Undergraduate OR Masters & PHD Thesis

Combining University partnerships and Gymshark resources to take an idea from concept to funding

Offering students about to enter their final year of their undergraduate degree, or postgraduate Masters and PHD students a streamlined, financially supported research project, with a focus on building and iterating new tech, all whilst being supported by Gymshark, with the eventual incentive of equity involvement and long term partnership. Whether studying Industrial Design, Material Design, Computer Science, Psychology, Marketing, Economics, Sports Science, Maths, Physics or any degree, we can suggest a potential technical advancement Gymshark would like pursued opens up a plethora of talented students to the project. Our aim is to make them see value in chasing a riskier lofty project, with financial and operational support instead of being focused on moving straight into work life.

  • 3rd or 4th Year Undergraduate Project - Age 20 to 23

  • Masters or PHD Thesis Project - Age 23-35

  • Offer set time at GSHQ or in-build a remote communication platform (Zoom).

  • Need to treat this project as the opening year of running a start-up.

  • Research a sector  ->  Prototype & MVP  ->  Business Plan, Iterate & Fund

  • Model: m0m Incubators - 4th Year Project - £500k Funding - WHO Backing - 2015

Startups - Current, Pivot and Failed

Accelerating a current running start-up, helping pivot an idea, or kickstarting a struggling concept

Start-ups will conventionally apply for a project such as this in the hope that they are already in a position to solve a problem or run a business. It is important therefore we open up to startup concepts that are struggling and need to pivot, or even sourcing founders and ideas that have failed with their current level of support, and are in need of a fresh perspective to try again. Creating a channel that funnels start-ups in the midst of a pivot or have seemingly failed won't be easy - it is therefore imperative that we offer an accessible, non-conformist, and frankly not overwhelming route to discuss their ideas with Gymshark. Building a highly personal approach that removes the emphasis on "one-off" pitches and instead focuses on consistent communication between potential start-up applicant and ourselves we help source the founders with the most talent and ambition, without marginalising people by inviting them into overly pressurised creative environments.

  • Concept, Pre-Seed, Seed, Revenue Stage

  • Offer set time at GSHQ and Innovation Birmingham or in-build a remote communication platform (Zoom).

  • Need to treat this project as the opening year of running a start-up or as a re-launch of a product, service,  or idea.

  • Prototype & MVP  ->  Business Plan, Iterate & Test ->  Pivot or Relaunch

  • Model: Impulse - Pivot Company - MVP Built & App Prototype - Letter of Intent - Find £300k VC Funding - 2018

Accelerators and Incubators

Accessing current start-up programs and providing sector specific follow up support and finance

Having participated in a range of pre-accelerators, accelerators and incubators over the last 4 years it is safe to say the value and support differ widely from platform to platform. Many start-up support projects are under-funded, glorified CSR alumni clubs, often relying on EU support, and heavily lack the empathy and intimate care truly needed to take a concept idea to full fledged launch. As such these make fascinating places to source promising concepts that have been promised the world, but really need dedicated support, built on long term partnerships with each respective project, to create an "academy" network where the most promising ideas exit other accelerators in exchange for specialist "Y-Combi-esque" support alongside Gymshark.

  • Concept or Pre-Seed Ideas and Companies

  • Offer set time at GSHQ, Innovation Birmingham desk space or in-build a remote communication platform (Zoom).

  • Need to treat this project as the opening year of running a start-up.

  • Idea Research  ->  Prototype & MVP  ->  Business Plan, Iterate & Fund

Founder Background.

Companies are only as brilliant as the people that run the day to day grind. Our aim is to source talented people first and foremost, that happen to have an idea or concept that can dent the status quo in its respective sector. It is vital we are open to atypical founders - the people that haven't taken the ordinary path, aren't adept at playing the social game that is the start-up ecosystem, and instead excel in their own individual and unique patterns.

Personality.

Initiative.

An ability to take on any challenge without asking for permission. Always solution focused and driven to take charge of the situation best they can

Resourceful.

Financial and time pressure means our founders have to achieve a lot with not much. Finding solutions by connecting with people and iterating the product they have.

Persistence.

Show a record of moving from challenge to challenge consistently. In the face of a society shutting down individuality and risk takers, these people persevere.

Optimism in failure.

People that have failed again and again and survived are dangerous (to societal norms). They are well aware no issue is to big and they stride into the next battle.

Skin in the game.

Whether financial or time based, they must have given and sacrificed a lot for their concept. Sourcing funds, using savings, and giving up a "normal" life.

Energy and confidence.

Confidence (not arrogance) is key. Trust in themselves and the team around them will set them apart. Built a life that gives them energy and vibes to perform.

Traction.

Cash Positive Side Hustle.

Whether at school, university or alongside a full time job evidence of a cash positive side business is a true kicker in understanding if our founders can create money from nothing. The ability to take the time, energy and intelligence to pick a niche market, create a product or service as a hobby and then make money is the most impressive indicator of all the above personality traits.

Previous Start-Up Experience.

Working within a high pace, pressurised creative environment before their current venture or idea would be further proof of understanding the daily riggers of start-up life. Creating your own company is dangerously glamourised by social media and as such our founders need to be aware of the dangers living this kind of life could differ to what they may be used to.

Taken The Alternative Path.

Bravery to diverge from what society, friends, family or even partners expect, in exchange for pursuing their idea, would help in selecting the correct founders. Whether jobs have been left, self-made travel plans pursued, or extending education long beyond norms just because they believe in themselves and their own path.

Gone Above And Beyond.

Kindness, generosity and empathy for the world should be a compulsory set of traits for our founders. Being able to take a polar perspective, work alongside people for no gain, offer support and help regardless of time or energy will sow the seeds for humble and consistent personal development. Founders and CEO's don't need to be cold and ruthless to succeed - instead aware and thoughtful of thoughts, actions and behaviour at all times.

Took Risks & Failed.

"The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena..." - Failure is the key indicator to how capable our founders have been at taking risks and keep moving forwards. It is easy to take a risk and give up (often without consequence) but when a person has skin in the game, taking risks come with an element of fear, only overcome by failing consistenly into a solution is found.

First 6 Months.

The projects aim is to set the concrete foundations, whether business, creative or personal, for each idea and founder to succeed from concept to creation to funding and beyond. Our role is to offer consistent support and complete life-cycle backing to our founders, built on ensuring the first six months is a carefully structured process that focuses on getting our founders building, marketing and actually running their product or service seamlessly.

1

Research & Goals & KPIs

Market research, narrow down the concepts exact target demographic, undertake surveys, set weekly/monthly goals, and vital KPI's for the GS project.

2

Playbook (Paperwork)

Create a creative playbook to be used during the 6 month process. Set company foundations by completing necessary legal, company, and financial paperwork. Don't dwell here.

4

Test & Iterate MVP

Release product publicly and iterate daily based on constant feedback. Use GS channels to reach early adopters. Get the product ready for commercial use.

3

Product Map & Build

Build fast. Like immediately. Whatever the stage, build and test each stage. Get feedback, test, improve and do so as fast as possible. We're not here to plan.

5

Prioritise Cash Flow

Cash is king. It reduces pressure, lengthens runway, the very best traction and builds confidence. The best investment is £1000 @ 0% equity every single day.

6

Good Habits

Mental and physical wellbeing. Set realistic life goals. Network and communicate. Partnerships and collaborations. Read, learn, iterate. In build daily habits that can withstand pressure and failure.

Next Steps...

Whether companies are mergi-acquired, given further funding, or kept in house for another 6 months it is vital we give them a foundation and vision for their next stage.

Real World Ready - Structure

Fund

Funding the company for % equity would allow our company to commercially launch into the real world - yet keep close ties between their tech and Gymshark.

Acquire

Completely bring the company and their founding team in-house as GS employees OR acquire the tech and exit the company on the spot.

Mergi-Acquire

Companies that need more support but have the tech ready could be pre-acquired and the founding team offered support or key employee roles to continue iterating the project or potentially lead a new internal venture.

Pinch Points.

Accelerators, incubators, and any start-up support project will inevitably not be able to offer wrap around perfect care for every single need each start-up needs. There are a plethora of issues we need to preemptively cover, but also be flexible enough to adjust to each of our start-ups requests on a daily basis. Having been through a number of support projects - the key is accessibility to resources that allow 100% of founding energy focused on pure creative progress.

Accessibility.

Working alongside Gymshark and partaking in the full scope of the project needs to be seamless. Making the simplest thing like parking, work space, making sure they eat enough food, or any miscellaneous worry disappear can empower founders to work without unnecessary stress.

Lack of touch points.

Founders and start-ups need constant energised touch points to take them from challenge to challenge. It is imperative we offer daily and weekly work sessions, create an environment for key conversations, and ensure at any stage our founders can be at Innovation Birmingham or GSHQ and able to ask any question they need answered. Close relationships will keep our founders grounded and driven.

Workshops & compulsory days.

Offering valuable time in front of sector specific experts at least once a week increases this feeling of touch point connection, but also means they are constantly challenged to better themselves. Whether it be grant funding, wellbeing, executive advice, or any valuable way to impart knowledge then this should be prioritised by department heads at both Gymshark and Innovation Birmingham. Discipline is another vital factor in start-up success, particularly i the opening six months. We may need to implement compulsory in-house days dotted amongst a flexible and friendly project schedule.

Part of the Gymshark family.

Gymshark's growth has put them in a formidable position to dramatically accelerate any concept or company with their supreme influence in the UK business arena. This power is felt by anyone who enters GSHQ, they want to be a part of this movement, be a part of the team, and excel in anyway possible to show Gymshark their value. As such making our founders an integral part of the family, an extension of the current employee base, will give them self-belief and value that cannot be matched by any amount of funding.

Bespoke plans & key way-points.

Often start-up support projects have rigid schedules that are set to the limited resources of the team running it. Gymshark's wealth of support and teams allows us to create bespoke plans and internal partnerships between our concepts and separate Gymshark departments. On top of this it is vital we offer monthly way-point "board meetings" between each company and key executives and team leaders within Gymshark and Innovation Birmingham.

Weekly GSHQ conversations.

Discussing issues, sharing knowledge, and consistent collaboration between start-ups will be the backbone of the social environment we need to create. A space where collaboration and not competition thrives, backed by an in-house community made up of 20
+ Gymshark employees, department heads, our founders, and external workshop leaders all striving towards a common goal - turning these ideas into value for the founders, but also securing the future of Gymshark as a technical and socially driven powerhouse.

Creating a remote-work connected ecosystem. 

Partnering with people, founders, institutes, groups, and universities that can accelerate Gymshark's mission is vital. The opportunity to create a vibrant scout network that will point new tech, ideas and concepts towards GSHQ in mutual exchange for building the foundation for start-ups in the UK.

What's Needed.

Sourcing sector changing concepts and interweaving these into the Gymshark ecosystem for use over the next 5 years will take some short term expenditure and consistent iteration to work and re-work how we best achieve these goals. Our objective to begin with is to offer structure and fast access to product development help, a dynamic network, and potentially life-cycle long financial and business support.

Innovation Birmingham Dedicated Space

Innovation Birmingham has the potential to be a vital creative and technical hub for not only Gymshark and the Midlands, but the UK as a whole. As such it is vital we create a dedicated and start-up friendly space for our companies to engage and collaborate day in day out, hour on hour without feeling burned out, restricted of freedom, or just another part of the desk fees that help fund the campus. The space has to be hot-desk focused, offering a corner to relax, and in my opinion separate meeting rooms from the campus booking calendar. 

  • Remove barriers to daily accessibility - Free parking, subsidise food, organised sponsored drinks (USN, Vitamins, Health Products etc).

  • Set apart the space as an exclusive "club", with inclusive traits (compulsory cross campus sessions).

  • The campus is inherently corporate - we need to avoid this feeling of structured office space and promote a feeling of being within a creative bubble unlike any place our companies would have worked in before.

GSHQ Technical Workshop

Enticing the most exciting ideas and founders into the Gymshark environment will mean having to offer an in-house GSHQ work space they feel comfortable enough to build and develop their concepts from. Ideally a minimal, technically advanced workshop, where our companies have free rain to build, test and harness their inner "mad scientist" will not only be truly exciting, but potentially set a vital precedent for Gymshark being more open to attracting so-called "atypical" team members. 

  • Tech heavy concept space. Within HQ or the adjacent new buildings. Screens, necessary machinery, and access to tech employees.

  • Potentially helps structure the project as a whole. Innovation Birmingham provides the business support space, whilst the GSHW workshop offers a technical product development focus. Helps categorise thought process and streamline weekly running.

Vision Project Playbook

Building a short project focused playbook that outlines the 6 month structure, contains some vital paperwork, and giving a workbook for our founders to keep returning too would be imperative. Alongside issuing welcome packages and moleskin diaries to keep tracking of mental and physical well being, as well as ideas and concepts to be noted and returned to.

  • Paperwork: Company Founding, Legal Notes, Companies House, Cash Flow, Exec Summary, Business Canvas, Pitch Deck.

  • Reading List: Books (Legacy), Articles, CEO Letters, Blog Pieces.

  • Structure: Workshops, Calendar Dates, Key Events, Potential Gymshark Invites, Diary Input, KPI's (5 Minute Journal etc).

Available Funding

Setting financial support aside for our companies is a complex and careful process to consider. For the success of the project Gymshark must be open to putting cash on the line to set up and subsidise early stages. In regards to funding or acquisition this would be purely situational - but it is imperative that ourselves and at an appropriate point the founders know (whether during application or 3 months in) we are open to investing into each concept. Outlined below is a set of potential early breakdowns:

  • Funding University Project: 50% Final Year Fees - Travel Covered up to £50/week - Subsidise Prototyping - Invest In Uni Machinery (If Needed)

  • (Option 1) Funding In-House: £10k @ 5% and then £40k @5% on completion of the 6 months.

  • (Option 2) Funding In-House: £0 Upfront and £50k @10% spread throughout product development.

  • (Option 3) Funding In-House: £50k @ 10% after 6 Months - Follow Up Funding if they require more money.

  • Acquisition: How much money would be available to acquire? £100k to £250k and a job? £1m and total acquisition? Need clarification here.

Access To People & Partnerships

Giving our founders access to the Gymshark executive team, the business development team at Innovation Birmingham, and any further logistics or technical collaborations (Shopify, manufacturers, materials etc) would offer a tremendous advantage over most respective start-up accelerators or incubators run in the UK. Furthermore creating and securing a diverse range of professional and creative partnerships from across the UK and World would be paramount to the on-going success of our start-ups and their founders:

  • Universities: UK - Aston, Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, Manchester, Loughborough, Bath USA - MIT, Yale, Stanford, UCLA, Harvard

  • Accelerators: Y-Combi (USA), Natwest Accelerator, Virgin Start-Up, Entrepreneur First.

  • Funding: Indiegogo, Kickstarter, Seedrs, Crowdcube.

What's Needed.

Impulse was founded as a vehicle to give the founding team time to create, work, travel and live life on their terms. This ethos is interwoven into our core belief - to give the people brave enough to run their own show, start their own companies, and build innovative products all the tools available to create their own version of freedom and happiness everyday.