Ex-rugby international’s CBD brand passes £1M crowdfunding target in less than 24 hours

Grayson Hart at Oxford Street pop-up

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THE ex-rugby international founder of one of the UK’s fastest growing nootropics producers says it’s ready to become a global wellness brand after raising more than £1.3 million in just five hours through a celebrity-backed crowdfunding campaign. 

Puresport is now live to the public and has secured backing from more than 300 investors including Scotland Rugby internationals Jonny Gray, Greig Laidlaw and Finn Russell, who have invested a combined total of more than £80,000.

The investment will allow the £12m-valued firm to press ahead with plans to expand into the US and Australian ecommerce markets in the coming months, having launched in New Zealand – the native country of founder and ex rugby pro Grayson Hart – earlier this week.

To celebrate the milestone, the producer launched a two-day pop-up store on London’s Oxford Street, giving shoppers and fitness fanatics alike the chance to sample their exclusive range of supplements. 

Puresport is set to ramp up its focus on the mainstream UK retail market just a few months after it became one of the first CBD producers to gain approval for legal sale in the country, following the introduction of stringent Food Standards Agency regulation. 

As well as growth of the brand, the funds will also be invested in product innovation. In the past 12 months, Puresport has expanded its remit beyond CBD to other natural wellness base products, including mushrooms. 

Grayson Hart, Puresport’s founder and CEO, said the investment will provide the launchpad for the firm’s ambitions to become a global wellness brand, and hailed the community around the brand that helped make it happen. 

The entrepreneur, 33, said: “To raise £1m through crowdfunding is massive, to do so in just a few hours is mind blowing. The community we have built around Puresport truly trusts and believes in what we produce and what we stand for, and we are all stoked to have them along for the ride as investors now too.” 

“What began as a means of providing a safe and natural pain management alternative has mushroomed into a holistic wellness movement that is now established in mainstream markets and we’re in the perfect position to feed that appetite.” 

“It’s no secret that we want to be sold in major stores like Selfridges and Harrods, and this investment will help us on our road to achieving it. We are also ready to replicate the success we’ve enjoyed in ecommerce in the UK overseas – starting with the US, Australia, and New Zealand where the audience is ready and target growth potential huge.”

“If you’d told me in 2018 when this all started that we’d be in a position to raise more than £1m in under a day just four years later I’d have laughed at you, but the people involved in Puresport and the progress we’ve made since has filled me with the belief Puresport can become as big as we want it to.” 

Puresport was initially a side hustle for former scrum-half Hart – who represented New Zealand U20s, Scotland in 7s and full internationals, and the Barbarians during a successful professional rugby career – but 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. 

The wellness entrepreneur looked to natural products after realising the negative effects of relying on opioid-based painkillers to cope with the rigours of professional rugby. 

Now, waking others up to the power of natural products to support long-term health is his mission – and thousands are joining him. The start-up has grown quickly by creating an authentic and expanding community around the brand, already attracting almost 50,000 followers across social media. The model has been driven by collaborations with similar-minded fitness and wellness brands including £1 billion valued ‘unicorn’ Gymshark.  

The company has also circumvented restrictions on advertising CBD products online through its fervent community of advocates, with more than 11,000 people attending the Puresport run clubs, yoga classes, fitness summits, and a host of other brand events in the first half of 2022 alone.

Puresport has grown into one of the UK’s leaders in brain function-boosting nootropics since it was founded in 2018, passing £3.5 million in online sales since launch. Puresport turned over £2m before tax in 2021, a figure on course to grow to £2.8m this year.   

The firm began as a producer of natural, fully WADA compliant, 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.   

Puresport is also set to grow its team as it increases its capacity to target international expansion and retail. Its products were launched in Flannels stores both online and instore earlier this year. 

There is still time to join the current investment round. For more information visit Puresport’s crowdfunding page on Seedrs, here, to find out more.


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