Košice is becoming an important e-commerce hub in Central Europe. GymBeam signed the biggest e-commerce investment in the history of Slovakia with Crowdberry and SIH.

The Slovak e-commerce platform GymBeam develops, sells and distributes fitness nutritional supplements, functional food and active lifestyle equipment to 13 Central and Eastern European countries. Due to its exceptional track-record and unique growth potential the company attracted private investors from Crowdberry and Slovak Investment Holding (SIH) and secured growth capital in the total amount of EUR 6 million – the largest e-commerce investment in Slovakia to date.

The coronavirus has accelerated the rapid growth of e-commerce market and widescale migration of consumers to the online world. After six years since its establishment, the Slovak-based company GymBeam is not only the fastest-growing brand for an active and healthy lifestyle in CEE region, but it also continuously brings innovations to the e-commerce industry, making its hometown Košice an important crossroad with daily expedition of more than 4,000 shipments. Throughout its relatively short existence, the company’s annual turnover has grown from EUR 2.5 million in 2015 to more than EUR 20 million last year, with its own brands making up nearly 60% of revenues. These figures have attracted not only private investors from Crowdberry platform, but also the state owned fund Slovak Investment Holding. SIH, whose mission is to support private and public investments in strategic sectors in Slovakia, has participated in funding with EUR 2 million in addition to the EUR 4 million private investment of Crowdberry investors. In total, GymBeam will receive an investment of EUR 6 million, making the company the recipient of the largest e-commerce investment in the history of Slovakia.

“GymBeam's regional e-commerce strategy is unparalleled in our area. It is bringing a digital revolution to an industry dominated by big offline players for decades. The company  responds promptly to data analysis trends coming up with interactive ways of marketing and product innovations, supported by localized customer service. It capitalizes on the strong community character of its audience representing more than one million followers on social networks, which allows to widespread the brand reputation and thus achieve a level of growth that is highly above the average. For Crowdberry investors, it is a unique opportunity to strengthen through growth capital the value of an absolute leader in Central Europe with ambitions beyond the region,” said Daniel Gašpar, Partner of Crowdberry. 

Commenting on the investment, Ivan Lesay, General Manager of SIH, adds: “Our talks with GymBeam regarding the investment began back in 2019, long before the world was paralysed by the Covid-19 pandemic. E-commerce is one of the few sectors that has proven to emerge even stronger from the coronavirus crisis. We are pleased that a company from Slovakia has brought to the forefront an absolutely innovative and unique approach to how customers shop online for products focused on active and healthy lifestyle. We believe that GymBeam will take advantage of the current trend and continue to grow internationally.”

GymBeam is fundamentally different from standard online and brick-and-mortar retailers since it enables product innovations to be brought to the market in a very short time, especially in the area of functional foodstuff. It is able to flexibly respond to customer demand by analysing purchasing behaviour, trends and strategies for the development of its own brands. “Our ambition is to become a leading brand in all CEE markets. The investment will be used for modular automation of the distribution centre, and we also plan to build a new development centre for our own products. Recently, we have opened supply and sales points in Budapest and Prague. Our goal is to achieve turnover of more than EUR 100 million by 2024,” says Dalibor Cicman, founder of GymBeam, who, thanks to his experience and results, is considered to be an important figure in the start-up and broader business environment in Central Europe.

Today, the company, which is able to deliver shipments to several countries within 24 hours, focuses particularly on customer care while utilizing local potential. GymBeam considers its home location – Košice – to be its strategic advantage with respect to its target markets. It therefore supports local talents in the fields of marketing, IT and e-commerce as a matter of principle. The company’s growth ambitions could potentially have a significant and positive impact on the development of the Košice region (eastern part of Slovakia) and will open up attractive job opportunities there.

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