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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - UAE-based Mindshift Capital has invested in US-based digital fitness platform FORTË, a subscription-based service offering hardware and software solutions to live-stream fitness classes.
This marks the ninth investment for Mindshift Capital Fund, which invests primarily in female-led tech startups serving users in the Mena region and worldwide.
FORTË’s current users include the NFL, the YMCA, the UFC, and Canada-based Goodlike Fitness among others.
UAE-based Mindshift Capital has invested in FORTË, a proprietary solution to digitise fitness offered at gyms and boutique studios. Both a technology and subscription based streaming platform, FORTË installs hardware and software into studios, which enable classes to be streamed live to FORTË ’s platform, currently operating in the US, Canada and Europe.
Founded by Lauren Foundos, in 2015, FORTË is revolutionising the fitness industry by providing access to studio classes coached by leading fitness experts worldwide. As a bespoke solution to an industry, previously reliant on either Zoom or Vimeo, the FORTË technology and service is now being used by YMCA, UFC, NFL, Under Armour World Headquarters, Goodlife Fitness (Canada's largest gym chain), The Edge, Heartcore (from Europe) and many others. FORTË allows brick and mortar gyms to now go online and compete with the likes of Peleton for an ‘on demand’ consumer fitness service.
Prior to 2020, the online fitness market surpassed USD 5 billion and has experienced exponential growth over the past 12 months across all metrics - downloads, availability and revenue. Central to this growth are the tech enablers such as FORTE’s platform that delivers a turnkey solution for live streaming.
“Mindshift Capital invests in exceptional female founded companies at the forefront of innovation in their chosen field,” said Founding General Partner, Heather Henyon. “We are very excited to add FORTË to our portfolio. Lauren clearly saw the opportunity to lead the evolution in technology in the fitness industry. She was ahead of the curve having invested six years in building this business and has been able to effectively capture the strong demand in the last year - more than 2000 providers reached out with interest in their white-labelled solution.”
“We are proud of Mindshift’s ability to access these investments in such a competitive environment. This investment is more evidence of the high quality of deal flow that we are experiencing as a result of our gender-lens investment focus and exceptional global networks,” continued Heather Henyon.
Lauren Foundos, Founder and CEO, FORTË, says; “In 2016, I left my job on Wall Street and spent the next three years developing proprietary hardware and software that would be easy for nontechnical gym owners and operators to use. Now, users tell us that we are changing their lives and making them healthier. Gym owners say we helped them save their businesses during the pandemic lockdowns.
Funding for female-founded ventures is historically lower than that of male-founded teams. We feel fortunate that gender-lens VC’s such as Mindshift Capital exist to amplify the message that investing in women makes sense. We are proud to join the Mindshift portfolio and look forward to working together to grow the FORTË service globally, and to reach more fitness lovers in their own homes, whilst supporting independent studios and instructors via our technology”
This the ninth investment for Mindshift Capital in its inaugural fund. To date the fund spans the US, Middle East and Asia. The addition of FORTË demonstrates further growth for the fund in securing investments in global companies, and showcasing the collaborative and agile reach of the Mindshift team among strong co-investors.
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