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Ben Francis

Founder, Owner & Chief Product Officer

Gymshark Ltd

Birmingham, UK

Ben Francis
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Biography

Ben Francis is the founder and ambitious entrepreneur behind leading UK fitness brand, Gymshark. In December 2020 Ben was voted EY's UK Entrepreneur of the Year.

In August 2020 Ben struck a deal with General Atlantic that valued Gymshark at more than £1bn. The valuation means that Gymshark joins the list of less than 25 British companies to have secured 'unicorn' status since 2001.

Ben founded Gymshark when he was 19 years old and still a student at Aston University. He famously juggled his full-time studies with working as a pizza delivery man in order to fund his Gymshark venture.

The business has grown from an operation in Ben’s garage to one of the most recognised fitness brands in the world. The company credits its success to a strong online presence, continuous innovation and a commitment to producing high quality performance wear.

Ben was Chief Executive Officer of Gymshark until 2017 and applied his expertise in business, social media marketing, sales and fashion, market research, as well as his understanding of the value of collaborating with social media influencers in order to grow visibility. He is using these skills in his role as Gymshark's Chief Product Officer.

Recognised for his contribution as a young entrepreneur, Ben was nominated as one of Forbes 30 under 30 in Retail and E-commerce in 2018, the same year Gymshark’s revenue hit $120 million. In 2016 Gymshark was confirmed as one of the UK’s fastest growing companies by Fast Track in The Sunday Times Fast Track 100 list.

Ben’s talent for building start-ups is evident in his contribution as co-founder of sleek fashion brand, Manière De Voir, where he worked as Director.

He studied Business and Management at Aston University but decided to stall his studies in order to dedicate more time to Gymshark. Prior to founding Gymshark, Ben also developed iOS apps - two of which made it into Apple's fitness charts.

Ben’s Newsfeed

Gymshark’s founder is EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2020 UK winner

This year’s winner, Ben Francis, has grown Gymshark, the online athleisure wear brand, from a start-up in his parents’ garage to a global brand with millions of customers in more than 170 countries. 

The Times
How Ben Francis built the billion-pound fitness brand Gymshark

Nine years ago, Ben Francis, a delivery boy for Pizza Hut, started stitching cool fitness gear in his parents’ garage near Birmingham. Today his label, Gymshark, turns over £250 million a year in sales. And he’s not even 30.

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Ben’s Social Media

Ben’s Background

Gymshark Ltd
Founder, Owner & Chief Product Officer
Jul 2012 - Present
Birmingham, UK
Gymshark is a UK fitness, apparel and accessory company established by Ben Francis in 2012. It has since grown into a leading sportswear brand and in 2020 acheived 'unicorn' status after being valued at over £1 billion. The business credits its success to a strong online presence, continuous innovation and high-quality performance wear.
Manière De Voir
Co-Founder & Director
Dec 2013 - Apr 2018
Birmingham, UK
Manière De Voir is a premium clothing and accessories fashion brand based in the United Kingdom. The unisex clothing range is designed in-house with a focus on garment construction, innovative and sustainable fabrics, customised prints and unique finishings.
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Ben’s Gallery

Media

How You Can Scale Your Business | Ben Francis
Speaker
Mar 2020
Ben Francis talks about how Gymshark went from being a 'lifestyle' business with a small team, into the large professional business it is today, employing over 400 people.
How You Can Grow Your Business | Ben Francis
Speaker
Sep 2019
In this video Ben Francis talks about some of the things he has learnt from Gymshark's growth, and some top, actionable tips that he'd give to anyone looking to build their own business.
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Awards & Endorsements

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year
UK Winner 2020
Sep 2020
London, UK
EY's Entrepreneur Of The Year UK has been celebrating, supporting and connecting entrepreneurs since it first launched in the UK over 20 years ago. Reflecting on the award, Ben says he was: “Proud and humbled to be the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2020 UK winner at what is an incredibly exciting time for Gymshark.”
Forbes 30 under 30 - 2018
30 Under 30 - Europe - Retail & Ecommerce
2018
Forbes 30 under 30 is a list issued by annually by Forbes magazine that recognises leaders, innovators and trailblazers in various industries that are under the age of 30.
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Ben’s Education

Aston University
Business and Management