Puresport was founded by former international rugby player Grayson Hart in 2018, starting out as a producer of natural, fully World Anti-Doping Agency-compliant, cannabidiol (CBD) pain relief for drug-tested athletes, and has since expanded into new markets, selling more than 100,000 products across an expanded range catering for wellness needs including sleep, stress, and fitness.
The firm was initially a “side hustle” for scrum-half Mr Hart – who represented New Zealand U20s; Scotland in 7s and full internationals; and the Barbarians during his professional rugby career – but it is now a full focus in retirement for the athlete who also enjoyed stints at clubs in New Zealand and the UK, including NSW Waratahs, Auckland Blues, Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh Rugby, and London Scottish.
He looked to natural products after seeing negative effects of relying on opioid-based painkillers to cope with the rigours of professional rugby, and says waking others up to the power of natural products to support long-term health is his mission
Sales since the firm launched have exceeded £3.5m, with turnover £2m last year and forecast to grow to £2.8m this year, while more than 1,000 people have already pre-registered to join the investment round on crowdfunding platform Seedrs.
The firm is set to grow its team of 12 as it increases its capacity to target international expansion and retail. Its products were recently launched in more than 50 UK Flannels stores, and ecommerce sites in Australia, New Zealand, and the US are on the horizon.
Mr Hart said: “We want everyone to benefit from our products, which means being in places like Selfridges and Harrods. We’re already experiencing sales from abroad and have had organic iterations of our run clubs in Dublin and Australia.”
As well as growth of the brand, the funds will also be invested in product innovation. In the past 12 months, it has expanded its remit to other natural wellness base products, including mushrooms.
Mr Hart added: “Mushrooms is an area that is particularly interesting to us and could hold the key to preventing illness and improving body and mind.”
Puresport said that earlier this year it became one of the first CBD producers to gain approval for legal sale in the UK following the introduction of new regulation by the Food Standards Agency.
Additionally, the start-up has been teaming up with similar-minded fitness and wellness brands including £1 billion-valued Gymshark, and has seen more than 11,000 people attend Puresport-run clubs, yoga classes, fitness summits, and a host of other brand events, in the first half of 2022 alone.
Greig Laidlaw and British and Irish Lion Finn Russell – former Scotland teammates of Mr Hart – are among those already committed to investing in the latest funding round, with more to be announced, according to the firm.
Mr Hart said: “Natural ingredients are the future. People increasingly distrust big pharma and are looking for long-term solutions to health and happiness. Our products help every area of wellbeing; from pain and recovery to sleep, focus, mood, stress, and balance.”