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.