On the heels of taking a majority stake in Big Blue Swim School in April 2017, Level 5 Capital Partners is infusing $17 million of capital into growing the brand’s footprint nationally through franchising. In February 2017 the first round of $6 million in funding was approved to set up the franchise, and open additional corporate locations. In September 2018 Level 5 Capital Partners approved another $11 million to open and market the first Chicago proper location in North Center in March 2019, with the rest being used to market the franchise opportunity.
To set the brand up for growth, Level 5 Capital Partners recruited key hires to round out the leadership team and prepare the brand for explosive growth. Scott Thompson, a franchise industry veteran who served in development roles at Tutor Doctor, Premium Franchise Brands, FranConnect, Desjoyaux Pools and Fitness Together, joined Level 5 Capital Partners in August 2018 as Chief Development Officer.
“What excited me about joining Level 5 Capital Partners was the company’s experience being great multi-unit franchisee operators with CorePower Yoga, and their ability to open facilities and making them profitable quickly,” said Thompson. “Big Blue Swim School has an unmatched strong consumer proposition, and its unit economics fall in the top quartile of all franchises. Every box is checked on this brand becoming the national player in the industry, and that opportunity doesn’t exist in many other segments of franchising.”
Newly named CFO Kevin Bostick has significant experience working with private equity firms and most recently was president and CFO of 365 Data Centers. Before that, he held senior finance and operating roles at New Global Telecom, Level 3 Communications and JP Morgan.
“I was brought on to exploit the growth opportunity at Big Blue Swim School, and find other concepts, both mature and nascent, to add to the portfolio,” said Bostick. “For me, this is the right time, the right opportunity, and the right people. Not only do I get the chance to play a key role in building a business, but I also get to work with people I care about in the health and wellness industry, which resonates with me personally from a core values perspective.”
Level 5 Capital Partners plans to grow Big Blue Swim School to 150 units by 2020, primarily through franchising.
“When you look at the brand and how it creates big life moments for children, and add on the financials, it’s really a special brand,” said Thompson. “Big Blue Swim School is fun for kids, and parents love the full-time instructors that know their kids by name. Parents also love being able to track their child’s progress and schedule classes through the app. Because Big Blue teaches children a vital life skill, it’s a recession-proof business and we anticipate huge growth to come.”