Scaling company makes first acquisition since £1m funding round

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Vivify, the Manchester-based digital scaling platform, has made its first acquisition since a £1m funding injection led by multi-family investment office, Arete, earlier this year.

The acquisition of another school rental business, Community Hire, based in Tadcaster, will allow Vivify to expand its work in helping schools rent space to local community groups outside of teaching hours.

Vivify now works with over 80 schools across the country, giving them a platform to generate additional revenue and leverage their facilities for the benefit of the wider community.

Schools face increasing cost pressures, including rising energy costs, and the Vivify model helps provide a platform to create additional revenue without additional costs.

Community Hire was founded in 2020 in North Yorkshire by Jon Goodrick. The platform has grown rapidly to a team of 30 and currently works with 16 schools, primarily in Luton, London and Bristol.

These schools will now be part of the Vivify network, which already allows private clubs, groups and football teams to access quality leisure facilities in their territory.

Russell Teale, CEO of Vivify, said, “Community Hire has achieved an impressive amount in such a short time. With the community rentals market being so fragmented, this was a great opportunity to invest in a like-minded company to enable us to grow our market share and help more schools and communities across the country.

“Our social purpose drives us every day as we continue to scale rapidly. This acquisition is a great geographic choice for Vivify and will help us generate vital additional revenue for schools in Luton, London and Bristol.

“With over 39% of sports facilities locked behind school gates, we are excited to open more doors for local communities to provide them with access to facilities leading to a happier and healthier lifestyle.”

Arete, which is based in Liverpool and has a presence in Manchester, was led by Simon Lord, Andy Critchley and Briony Fagan, who have worked closely with Vivify since the first investment in the platform in 2020.

The Arete team said, “Platforms such as Vivify and Community Hire have already proven that there is a latent market for school facilities to be more easily accessed by outside groups to unlock community benefits at broad sense, especially in this financially difficult time.

“Vivify’s acquisition of Community Hire is a strategic step in the company’s growth plan and now, with this increased presence in schools across the south, we look forward to working with them to grow this further.”

Legal advice came from Hill Dickinson, Matt Noon and Elan Iorweth and tax advice from Claritas, Matt Hodgson and Peter Hully.

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