Xponential Fitness is a curator of some of the best brands across many verticals in the fitness space including Pilates, cycling, stretching and rowing. Some of Xponential Fitness’ brand portfolio includes Club Pilates (fastest growing Pilates franchise), CycleBar (first and only indoor cycling franchise), StretchLab (one-on-one personalized stretching services) and Row House (a popular boutique fitness rowing concept). To learn more about Xponential Fitness, I interviewed CEO and founder Anthony Geisler.
Geisler told me that he grew up in a working-class family in Orange County, California and always had an entrepreneurial mindset. Geisler had spent weekends working for his mom’s cleaning business and was the first in his family to attend college.
Upon graduating from the University of Southern California in 1999 with an Entrepreneurial Spirit Award, Geisler created a web development business with a friend and sold it for $20,000 within a year. Geisler and his partner then created casino gaming software and sold 65 casino games to major casinos in Las Vegas. That company was reportedly valued at $170 million by January 2000.
After the dot-com bust happened in 2001, Geisler’s next venture came together as he was training at a small boxing gym called LA Boxing in Costa Mesa, California. “I loved the workout and became friends with the owners and soon realized the brand was undervalued. Shortly after, I bought the company and decided to expand it through franchising. By 2012 we had built LA Boxing into the largest boxing, kickboxing and mixed martial arts fitness franchise in the country, with 200 locations sold in 35 states, and brought a historically fighter-centric workout to the masses. In 2012, we sold that company to UFC gym and I stayed involved until 2014,” said Geisler in the interview.
The catalyst for Geisler’s purchase of Club Pilates in 2015 was that he saw the business opportunity in specialized workouts. At the time, the brand was a small collection of boutique Pilates studios that were concentrated in California. Geisler brought in the LA Boxing team to lay the groundwork for a franchise rollout. Since then, the team expanded the brand to over 340 open locations and nearly 750 franchises sold. Plus
Club Pilates recently received funding from TPG Growth.
Geisler told me that he came up with the idea for Xponential Fitness as part of a collaboration between himself and TPG partner Mark Grabowski. And the idea for curating various fitness concepts to one umbrella has existed in the boutique fitness segment for a while. But many others that tapped into that concept were not well capitalized, unable to gain full ownership or did not stay true to the strictly boutique fitness brands. With the initial purchase of Club Pilates, Geisler knew he would work towards creating the leading curator of boutique fitness franchises.
As Geisler was building on the idea for Xponential Fitness, he was debating whether to either have shared services at the company or individual brands with Xponential Fitness being the sole support system. After deliberation, he decided that Xponential Fitness would exist as a company with very limited organizational charts. With each new brand, a team will be formed to support franchise partners — which starts with a president, a CMO, a real estate director and a construction project manager at its core. And the next step involved is a complete analysis and evaluation of each fitness vertical to conclude which concepts Xponential Fitness should carry “today” and what the company should offer “tomorrow.”
“This process is how Xponential Fitness was compartmentalized into the ‘core four,’ which includes barre, yoga, Pilates and spin, with emerging modalities such as rowing and stretching to be our next expansion initiative to tackle,” Geisler explained.
Along with the brands under the Xponential Fitness umbrella, the company also has a handful of other brands now under Letters of Intent. Xponential Fitness also has an organizational chart that includes key individuals to help expedite the purchase of each brand.
In 2017, Xponential Fitness hit $148 million in revenue across all the brands. Geisler told me that 2018 will be a big year and the company has some aggressive goals.
What are some of Xponential’s future company goals? “Over the next few months, Xponential Fitness’ goals are to finish up our acquisition process and continue to build high-level teams to support each brand,” Geisler concluded. “We will continue to grow each brand by recruiting passionate franchise partners and offer the same level of support that we’ve been known to provide through the mass development of Club Pilates, to ensure a steady climb in average unit volume across all Xponential Fitness brands.”