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1Rebel plans expansion following cash injection from Imbiba

Imbiba has invested in boutique brand, 1Rebel
There are plans for further expansion, both in the UK and overseas
1Rebel CEO, James Balfour, says the cash will further the brand reach and member experience
The investment comes from Imbiba’s recently-closed £90 million Fund II
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Leisure, lifestyle, wellness and entertainment growth investor, Imbiba, has invested in boutique gym brand, 1Rebel's holding company, One Rebel Ltd, after closing a £90 million fund.

The investor has provided growth capital to support 1Rebel’s ambitious plans to scale the business across the UK and grow its international presence. Multiple new venues are already secured in the pipeline.

Co-founded in 2015 by James Balfour and Giles Dean, 1Rebel currently has 10 studios in London and three more in Australia and the Middle East.

Three of the London studios have been acquired since the pandemic: two Core Collective clubs out of pre-pack administration deal in May 2022 and a Sweat It out of liquidation in February 2022. It offers four programmes: Reshape, Reformer, Ride and Rumble (boxing), while a trial move into franchising in the Middle East and Israel has been shelved to concentrate on organic growth.

Balfour said this investment is a pivotal moment for the business: “With this new infusion of capital, we're poised to accelerate our growth, expand our reach, and further enhance the 1Rebel experience for our members.

“This investment is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our team, and we are excited about the possibilities that lie ahead. We are thrilled to embark on a long-lasting, sustainable partnership with such seasoned entrepreneurs and investors.”

Imbiba’s Fund II includes capital commitments from a diverse investor base and will support the expansion of high-growth, category-leading businesses in the leisure, lifestyle, wellness, and entertainment sectors.

Partner and head of investment at Imbiba, Lizzie Ryan, says this is an exciting partnership: “1Rebel perfectly embodies the type of businesses Imbiba looks to invest in: uniquely distinctive, top-tier, and poised for significant expansion, led by a highly reputable management team.”

The only growth capital investor exclusively focused on the UK leisure, lifestyle, wellness, and entertainment sector, Imbiba’s current investment portfolio includes F1 Arcade, Pizza Pilgrims, House of Gods Hotel Group and Little Houses Group.

Darrel Connell, managing partner at Imbiba, says the substantial investment secured for its second fund demonstrates strong confidence in both the company and the sector. “With our experience and track record, Fund II positions us uniquely to support even more prominent entrepreneurs and best-in-class high-growth businesses,” he says.

In its last set of accounts (to December 2022, and filed on 9 January 2024), One Rebel Ltd reported that 2023 had seen a return to pre-pandemic activity levels at its longer-established sites and strong growth at its newer clubs.

It said the Group had convertible loan notes and other debt arrangements totally £6.2m which fell due for repayment during 2023, but the holders of the notes agreed partial conversion into shares in the capital of the company and repayment of any outstanding balance due.

An equity fund-raise was completed in September and October of 2023, totalling £11 million (inclusive of the loan note conversion), allowing the repayment of the loan note balances and associated interest, other debts and trading liabilities that fell due.

FOOTNOTE

A number of gyms are currently seeking investment including Lift Brands andBarry’s while VivaGym recently changed hands. LifeFit Group is in the midst of a sale and David Lloyd Leisure is on the market.

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