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Arete leads further £1 million investment round into Vivify after period of rapid growth

After a successful first round of funding, multi-family investment office Arete has announced it is leading a £1 million round into digital scale-up platform, Vivify.

Founded in 2020 by the current management team of Russell Teale and Alaine Swis, who have since been joined by finance director, Carl Cox and chairman Richard Millman, North West based Vivify works with schools across the country to hire out their facilities outside of school hours to enable them to generate much needed revenue that can be invested back into their facilities, teachers, and pupil experience.

Arete first met the business before it launched its booking platform in 2020 and invested during 2021 to help fuel growth and add value through the team’s experience. Fast forward to today, where the use of leisure facilities is returning to pre-pandemic levels, and Vivify’s platform is now utilised by over 70 schools and has enabled thousands of hirer groups and grassroots teams to find and book local facilities. Vivify has also established relationships with national partners, such as Total Swimming Academies, with whom they have launched the Movement Project – a national campaign led by Becky Adlington OBE to address the UK’s inactivity crisis.

This new round of funding will help Vivify launch a new product by developing its platform into a SaaS solution, for schools who do not require a managed service.

Simon Lord, partner at Arete, said: “The thesis that school facilities can be leveraged for the benefit of the community has been validated. Vivify has generated a significant amount of revenue for schools to date, and this new capital round will enable the business to work with a greater number of schools by providing the technology for school stakeholders with limited time to easily launch and manage a community lettings programme in-house.

“We are very proud of the social and financial success the business has achieved to-date for all stakeholders. We are delighted that high calibre investors such as Bill Currie and Sir Terry Leahy, who come with significant experience in the education sector, are joining Vivify in this round of funding.”

Russell Teale, CEO at Vivify, added: “The initial investment from Arete enabled us to raise awareness of Vivify and offer a lifeline to schools, including some who were operating a deficit budget. With costs like energy bills rapidly increasing, hiring out facilities can generate hundreds of thousands of pounds for a school, and in turn help with pupil recruitment which brings additional funding. With 39% of sporting facilities existing behind school gates, schools really do have a pivotal role to play in improving the health of the nation, and this next phase of funding will help us to launch a new product to enable more schools to join the movement to improve the physical and mental wellbeing of communities across the UK.

“We are extremely proud of the feedback we have received from schools to-date, including additional benefits they didn’t expect, such as helping to reduce anti-social behaviour and improve adhesion, racial divides and inclusivity in communities by bringing people from different backgrounds together.”
The transaction was led by Simon Lord, Andy Critchley and Briony Fagan at Arete; Matt Noon and Elan Iorwerth of Hill Dickinson (legal advisers); and Patrick Morris of Fairhurst (tax).