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Wimp 2 Warrior turns to tech: Creates CTO role & closes $7.5M to launch global technology platform

John Kavanagh, co-founder at W2W

Global Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) gym tech company Wimp 2 Warrior (W2W) is extending its core offering from a gym program to a global platform, via funds secured through the recent closing of an oversubscribed $7.5 million growth round.

The funds come from heavy hitters such as News Corp Scaleup Media Fund, Mark Bouris, the Smorgon family’s Sandbar Investments, Altor Capital, Shaw & Partners, and Lucerne Investment Partners.

W2W was originally targeting $5 million but increased the round by 50 per cent due to enormous demand.

Former Winning Group and Compare the Market technology executive, James Fleet, has been appointed to the newly-created role of W2W Chief Technology Officer to manage the global roll-out of the platform technology, and has already begun to build out W2W’s technology team.

The platform, which is akin to marketplace models like wellbeing technology company, MindBody, is currently being trialed by several gyms to drive customer acquisition, improve retention, and streamline payments and onboarding. This will completely transform the delivery of W2W’s proprietary UFC-inspired MMA programs.

The new tech platform will be rolled out across W2W’s 140+ participating gyms across 9 countries including Australia, the U.K., Ireland, North America, the UAE, NZ, and India, and become available to millions of members, and ultimately any MMA gym in the world.

It will also be used to later launch B2C MMA fitness and training programs which will allow consumers to be trained by the world’s most decorated MMA coaches and athletes from the comfort of their own homes, such as W2W co-founder and coach of Conor McGregor, John Kavanagh.

The oversubscribed raise follows a previous $2 million investment from top Australian executives in W2W in 2018, including ex-MLC CEO Geoff Lloyd, former Foxtel boss Richard Freudenstein, Village Roadshow veteran Graham Burke, and Origin Energy CEO Frank Calabria.

Parent company of the UFC, Endeavor Group Holdings, also recently closed more than half a billion in its NYSE trading debut after UFC Fight Pass subscriptions rose 40 per cent and reported the highest pay-per-view sales in company history during COVID-19.

W2W caters to a global MMA fan base of around 650 million and has been supported by UFC champions Conor McGregor, Israel Adesanya, and Australia’s Alex Volkanovski.

John Kavanagh, co-founder at W2W, said: “The incredible success of the UFC has helped MMA to become the fastest-growing sports vertical in the world. And just as CrossFit made functional training globally popular and highly profitable for strength and conditioning gyms, we aim to do the same for MMA.

“Building an underlying technology similar to MindBody, and rolling out a W2W program distribution strategy that can add 30 to 40 per cent to the top-line revenue of every gym we partner with, will be absolutely transformational for both W2W and our partner gyms.”

Nick Langton, co-founder and CEO at W2W, said: “This fresh capital will be used to accelerate the build of our technology, super-charge our global growth, and attract some of the world’s best executives to take us into the next phase of our development.

“Were it not for the pandemic, W2W would have already eclipsed eight figures of annual revenue last year – though we are still not far behind that. I believe that the most valuable company in the combat sports ecosystem will be the one that converts fandom into participation. Our mission is to do just that, by becoming the end-to-end platform for combat sports academies to connect with and monetise MMA fans globally.”

James Fleet, CTO at W2W, said: “I live and breathe technology due to a strong belief in the power of continuous innovation to deliver business outcomes at any scale. To be able to apply my skills in this area to such a formidable global powerhouse as Wimp 2 Warrior is beyond a dream come true.” 

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