Belfast Telegraph

Health club business is fit to revolutionise gyms

A NEW pay-as-you-go gym venture has secured £260,000 in funding from private investors as it looks to revolutionise the health club market.

Investment firm Envestors said it had successfully launched a financing from private investors for start-up company payasUgym, which aims to offer casual gym users access to a network of gyms with no membership ties.

PayasUgym is hoping to launch next month, allowing customers to "load" cash on to an online account that can be used at a wide range of fitness centres, from spas to leisure centre gyms.

Jamie Ward, co-founder of payasUgym, said: "Consumers are increasingly demanding more choice and flexibility with their gym memberships.

"PayasUgym will address these existing market restrictions and provide affordability and convenience for casual gym users."

Customers will be able to buy pay-as-you-go passes through payasUgym's website or with smartphone applications. But it is likely to face competition in providing more affordable gym access, with serial entrepreneur Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou planning to launch a budget fitness club offering next year.

Sir Stelios is gearing up to launch easyGym in the first half of 2011, allowing users to sign up for monthly-only contacts costing as little as £15 a month.

While not targeting the pay-as-you-go market, the easyGroup initiative is aimed squarely at those looking for a more affordable way to get fit.

PayasUgym was thought up by work colleagues Mr Ward and Neil Harmsworth, who came up with the idea when travelling back from a meeting discussing the difficulties in finding a gym you can visit on a one-off basis.

PayasUgym is set to go live on January 21 in London and the South East, branching out across the UK later in 2011. It already has more than 100 gyms on board in London and the surrounding commuter belt.

Envestors, which was bought by Braveheart Investment Group earlier this year, said payasUgym had a "great business model that serves a real need".

The investment firm specialises in matching high net worth private investors with fast growing start-ups.