VMG Backs Health Agency Solidcore, Bets on Publish-Covid Rebound


Private equity firm VMG partner acquired a minority stake in Solidcore, a Pilates-based strength training company that is betting that consumers will return to boutique fitness classes as soon as the worst pandemic hits the rearview mirror.

“We strongly believe in brands that create an emotional connection with consumers and can become a recurring part of their routine.” McConnell Smith, a VMG partner said in an interview. “So we had been following Solidcore long before Covid-19 disrupted the fitness category.”

The company with around 70 locations in states such as New York, North Dakota and Virginia will use new funds to open studios in the USA and abroad and initially target locations such as London and Canada, Solidcore founder and chief executive officer Anne Mahlum said in an interview. She also sees the west coast as a candidate for expansion. Mahlum said the pandemic has changed its ambition to reach 100 studios by 2020 to 2022.

Mahlum said she went without a salary for three months at the start of the pandemic when Solidcore – like many other companies – cut the pay of some employees and took leave of others who have since returned. Landlord including Regency Centers Corp.. and Federal Realty Investment Trust In part, they are “incredible to work with” because they understand Solidcore is a long-term renter, Mahlum added.

Solidcore signed a partnership with in November equinox digital media platform Variis. However, Mahlum anticipates that once the vaccine rollout has progressed, the home offerings will be an addition to, rather than a substitute for, studio instruction. The workouts use a machine called a “sweatlana,” which has properties similar to a Pilates reformer.

As a result of the transaction, she will share $ 575,000 with 88 full-time employees. Mahlum retains a controlling stake in the company that counted Peterson Partners Since 2017 as a minority investor. She has raised over $ 70 million from institutional investors and plans to help more women-led founders with land funding.

Piper Sandler advised Solidcore on the fundraising, which marks VMG’s first fitness deal in San Francisco, after investing in wellness companies such as Quest nutrition, old nutrition and Vega.

“There is a strong desire to get back to training in person because of the quality, effectiveness and overall experience,” said Smith of VMG. “It will take time, but certain modalities like Solidcore are better insulated because they are harder to replicate at home.”