Service in the military gives people discipline, grit and the ability to work in a team – all great attributes for an entrepreneur. When you put two military veterans together, the potential is huge.
Veterans Sean Ward and Hocque Figureoa are joint owners of a new F45 gym in Virginia Beach, near Chesapeake, Virginia.
While both had ambitions to open an F45 gym, the pair didn’t meet until after they had signed franchise agreements with the fitness company. By coincidence, the two sat next to each other at an F45 training event in Austin, Texas, and realized that they had a lot more in common than their home city.
Sean, a former Navy helicopter crew chief, says:
“Hocque and I both liked what F45 was offering as a product to customers: I love the camaraderie and It really is the world’s best workout.”
Hocque, who went to business school after service in the Marines, found that the gym offered something outside what he was doing:
“I was doing a sales job, and though I’m good at it, it wasn’t really firing me up. One day, my sister invited me to a workout at F45… and of course I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I knew this was the next step for me as a businessperson.”
After the event in Austin, the pair stayed in touch as they tried to raise funding to open their gyms.
“That didn’t pan out,” says Sean, “so we banded together and pooled resources. Even so, we still found it difficult to find a lender who could cover the startup costs. This included outlay for equipment and renovation to reach the standards we wanted our customers to experience.”
“The difficulty was in finding a lender who would work to our timescale. Everything felt very slow and difficult – they were raising objections rather than trying to make it happen. We contacted F45 to explain the situation. They put us in touch with Daire Burke from Swoop – and the rest is history.”
“Sean and Hocque were let down by another lender and Swoop was able to quickly arrange a term sheet to help them finance their project. We searched the market to find the most competitive rates and structure for the financing. Just as they thought they were back to square one, Swoop got them over the finish line.”
The pair agree that thanks to Swoop, the business is on track to open in March 2023: “Daire made it happen!” says Hocque. “There is no doubt that Swoop sped up the process and found lenders that worked to our time scale rather than the other way round.”
Sean says that his experience of working with Hocque, F45 and Swoop has been that by working together with the right people, great things can happen:
“Hocque and I know we can work together because our views and purpose align. In F45 and Swoop we’ve found people to speed us along our journey rather than put obstacles in the way. We joined the military to make the world a better place. F45 does that for people and Swoop has done that for us as a business.”
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