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Weightmans advises Vivify on investment by Arete

Weightmans has advised digital start-up Vivify on its investment by Arete Capital Partners.

Multi-family investment office, Arete, has announced a significant investment as part of a multi-million-pound deal in North West based, Vivify. The scale-up provides a digital platform as well as a fully managed service where under-utilised school facilities can be listed for hire to maximise social and physical activities within communities and generate much-needed revenue for schools.

The investment comes at a time where the importance of social interaction and physical health are becoming more vital than ever for UK communities as national lockdown restrictions ease. Drawing on the experience of Arete’s senior team members, the company will look to expand operations across the UK and significantly grow its base of partner schools.  

Founded in 2020 by Russell Teale, Alaine Swis and Andy Mellor and chaired by Richard Millman, the Vivify management team has many years of experience working in the leisure and hospitality industries and is passionate about promoting health and wellbeing in the UK’s diverse communities.   

Simon Lord, joint managing partner at Arete said:

“We really believe in Vivify’s vision and their platform will help schools to engage and build relationships with people in their community. With feelings of loneliness and mental health problems at an all-time high, this engagement can have a hugely positive impact on the wellbeing of people across the UK. Through Vivify, schools can play a more significant role in their communities, bringing people together for sport and leisure.

“It’s exciting for us to work with an entrepreneurial management team who have developed technical differentiation via Vivify’s booking platform to put schools right at the heart of its business model. The social and health benefits sit naturally alongside the economic benefits to schools and the surrounding area. We are looking forward to adding value to Vivify with our existing knowledge of scaling similar types of businesses and helping them to  grow the market and all the social and economic benefits that brings.”

Russell Teale, managing director at Vivify said:

“The investment from Arete will allow Vivify to raise awareness of its platform among many more underutilised schools up and down the UK, enabling more people to get involved in social and physical activities — at a time where it has never been so important.

“Vivify has huge potential in the UK market. In fact, recent statistics from Sport England show that for every £1 spent on community sport and physical activity, nearly £4 is generated in return for the English economy and society at large. We’re providing a vital service that has the potential to unlock additional revenue for the UK economy in the near future — particularly given that over a third of the UK’s sports facilities alone are currently behind school gates. As a result, Arete’s investment will have a huge multiplier effect for the UK’s economic and social future.”

Principal Associate at Weightmans, Michael Murphy, advised Vivify Venues. He said: “It’s never been more important to support venues to enable long overdue social and physical activities to take place. Vivify does a remarkable job in ensuring community venues are accessible and visible, and we are delighted to have helped them to secure this funding to drive the next phase of their growth and success.”

The transaction was led by Simon Lord and Jamie Newall at Arete; Matt Noon and Elan Iorwerth of Hill Dickinson (legal advisers); Neil Robinson and Rob Dawes of Grant Thornton (financial due diligence), and Patrick Morris of Fairhursts (tax). Weightmans advised Vivify.

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