US investment in Sunderland entrepreneur’s home-workout

Sunderland entrepreneur sees investment from USA

A Sunderland entrepreneur’s live and on-demand fitness service has attracted the attention of the lucrative American fitness market.

Since Elliott Perry, from Washington, founded Flex in 2015, his business has gone from strength to strength with up to 3,000 sign-ups. The streaming service allows fitness instructors to host live and interactive classes, broadcast into the home via internet, as users link up through a heart-rate monitor to keep check on their workout and compete against others.

As a result of Flex’s growth, Elliott and business partner Matthew Quinn have been accepted onto US based Techstars, a worldwide entrepreneur support network that runs three-month long accelerator programmes.

Elliott, who graduated in 2012 with a first-class degree in Business Computing explained: “Having moved from Sunderland to London I'll now be moving again to Boulder, Colorado - the fitness capital of the US - to focus on American expansion for Flex.

“We’re delighted to have been accepted onto Techstars, the equivalent of an ivy-league university in the tech start-up world. Techstars comes with $120,000 in funding and by joining the programme we'll have access to world-class mentorship from the founders, executives and employees of the world's most successful technology companies such as Amazon, Google, Twitter and Airbnb.

“We'll also have access to Techstar's investor network, providing the funding necessary for us to accelerate development of the company. By joining the Boulder programme specifically we'll be located in Colorado, the fitness capital of the US.”

Flex works by calculating your maximum heart rate using the HUNT fitness study model (calculating your maximum heart rate after analysing important factors such as: age, weight, gender and height) and scores you points per minute. These points and your overall percentage are then stacked in a leaderboard in real-time throughout the class.

Natty Zola, managing director of Techstars Boulder, said: “We’re super excited to have Flex join us here in Boulder. The Boulder programme has attracted many health & fitness technology start-ups over the years that have gone on to be successful companies. We’re looking forward to working with Elliott and Matt to turn Flex into the Netflix for fitness.”

There are plans in the pipeline to connect Flex into smart home voice assistant devices such as Alexa and Siri, as well as considering the future of the fitness experience as developments in 3D augmented reality take shape.