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Ben Francis

Founder & CEO

Gymshark

Birmingham, UK

Ben Francis
David Forbes
Savills
Jeff Fraser
Blue Dunes Growth

Ben Francis’ Biography

Ben Francis is the CEO, founder and ambitious entrepreneur behind leading fitness brand, Gymshark.

In December 2020 Ben was voted EY's UK Entrepreneur of the Year. Earlier that year, 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 2015 and applied his expertise in business, social media marketing, sales and fashion and market research, as well as his understanding of the value of collaborating with social media influencers in order to grow visibility. He continued to use these skills in executive roles at Gymshark until August 2021 when he once again took on the role of CEO.

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 and Director of sleek fashion brand, Manière De Voir.

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

The Industry.Fashion
Serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk joins Gymshark

Founder and CEO of Gymshark, Ben Francis, commented on the appointment of serial entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuk, as an advisor to the board.

GQ
GQ Heroes: Ben Francis

Ben Francis, Founder & CEO of Gymshark, is interviewed in GQ Magazine.

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Ben’s Social Media

Ben’s Background

Gymshark
Founder & CEO
Aug 2021 - Present
Birmingham, UK
Founded by Ben in 2012, Gymshark has 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.
Gymshark
Chief Product Officer
Jul 2020 - May 2021
Birmingham, UK
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Ben’s Gallery

Media

Deep Dive with Ali Abdaal
Podcast
Sep 2021
Gymshark’s founder and CEO, Ben Francis, talks to Ali Abdaal about his journey from delivery pizza boy to head of a billion dollar company.
Jimmy's Jobs of the Future
Podcast
Aug 2021
Ben Francis and Noel Mack talk to former Downing Street adviser, Jimmy McLoughlin.

Interviews

Talks at GS
Oct 2021
London, UK
Ben Francis talks to Goldman Sachs about how he set up Gymshark at the age of 19, and his ambitions for the company.

Awards & Endorsements

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year
UK Winner 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 annually by Forbes magazine that recognises leaders, innovators and trailblazers in various industries that are under the age of 30.
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Charitable Interests

Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital Charity
Patron
Jun 2021 - Present
Birmingham, UK
In June 2021 Ben became Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital Charity’s first-ever Patron. Driven by his desire to give back to his community, Ben will help the charity improve the lives of women, babies, children and families, both in Birmingham and further afield.
Sweat for your NHS Campaign
In April 2020, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Gymshark raised £180,000 for the Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital by encouraging people to ‘sweat for the NHS’. The company donated £5.00 for every 'sweaty selfie' posted to social media, enabling the hospital to buy vital medical equipment and continue their life-saving work.

Ben’s Education

Aston University
Business and Management