Since becoming Big Blue Swim School’s majority stakeholder in 2017, Level 5 Capital Partners has focused on data-driven methods and providing exceptional support to create enthusiastic franchise partners and a strategy that positions the fast-growing swim school franchise for success.
Before its involvement with Big Blue Swim School, Level 5 Capital Partners was founded in 2009 by Fortune 1000 technology executives to invest in high-end wellness and lifestyle offerings with a focus on yoga.
“At Level 5, we specifically love brands in the thriving health, wellness, and family services sector,” explained Managing Partner of Level 5 Capital, Chris Kenny. “We are only interested in joining brands that people tell their friends about and that people defend because of their passion for them. For these passion brands, we are able to deliver a mission-driven, values-based management philosophy to provide excellent value for consumers, our employees and our partners.”
Level 5 leverages their team’s expertise, capital and centralized operating platform in order to scale partner companies. The team looks to identify opportunities where they are able to drive rapid growth and scale in local services, with a focus on the health, wellness and family markets.
Since 2009, the Level 5 team has expanded investment to build one CorePower Yoga studio into Level 4 Yoga, LLC—the largest franchisee of CorePower Yoga and the third-largest national yoga studio operator with 35 locations in six states and over 800 full and part-time employees.
After learning about the unique proposition offered by Big Blue, the executive leadership team at Level 5 Capital knew the firm had found its next investment and decided to repeat its incredible success, this time as a franchisor.
“Five years ago, my niece was taking swim lessons and my older brother was unsatisfied with the operator. He mentioned that the swim school industry could be a potential area of expansion for Level 5,” said Kenny. “We were drawn in through the fundamentals of the industry and began to seek out the right franchise business opportunity to partner with. Big Blue was differentiated in many ways and we continue to build on that today.”
These differentiators include Big Blue’s data-driven approach to development where extensive research is driven by a team of eight members to assist in real estate, construction and facilities including three dealmakers, a designer, construction director and a facilities manager, identifying the prime real estate in trade areas across the country that fit the brand’s member profile. Additionally, Big Blue leverages proprietary technology via its scheduling and tracking software LessonBuddy™ to better understand customer behavior, which leads to optimized capacity planning. Finally, Big Blue builds state-of-the-art pools designed to meet the demographic needs based on market research.
“We went through a diligent process before deciding on Big Blue, extensively researching the financials, the locations, the management team, consumer studies and the technology,” said Chief Development Officer of both Big Blue and Level 5 Capital Partners, Scott Thompson. “After looking at the size of the swim school industry and the competition in the segment, there was no other dominant player who was innovating for parents and maximizing franchisee success. We knew we had the franchising expertise to become that and today, that player is Big Blue.”
As a franchisor for Big Blue, Level 5 Capital Partners provides a strong level of franchisor support, focusing on developing high-quality services as well as hiring, retaining and training the best employees possible to deliver those services. According to Kenny, Level 5’s depth of leadership and franchising experience with CorePower Yoga provided an understanding of the importance of a supportive franchisor relationship and has allowed for repeated success with Big Blue.
The Level 5 Capital leadership team has the franchising experience to drive the Big Blue brand forward. “Because of Level 5 Capital’s experience as owner of Level 4 Yoga, LLC, we know what it means to be a franchisee and the importance of a strong franchisor-franchisee relationship,” said Big Blue’s Chief Development Officer, Scott Thompson. “We provide the support so our owners can stay invested in their business and in the community they serve, greeting parents and learners with a smile and delivering the best swim instruction experience possible.”
Today, with the help of Level 5 Capital Partners, Big Blue has emerged as one of the dominant players in the $20 billion swim school industry. Big Blue’s innovative curriculum, industry-leading lesson planning software, data-based real estate sourcing and recession-resistant model are all helping the most profitable franchise achieve its goal of 150 units signed or in development by 2021.
Multi-unit franchise opportunities are available for qualified candidates looking for their next big franchise opportunity, and veterans can receive a 10% discount on the $50,000 franchise fee. The total investment for one Big Blue Swim School ranges from $1,825,500 to $3,687,000. To learn more or inquire about Big Blue Swim School