Will Dean “steps back” from CEO role at Tough Mudder

Tough Mudder sent out a press release this morning stating they are splitting the company into 2 separate entities. The Tough Mudder Boot Camp, launched late last year, will be one company, and the “events company” will be the other. TMHQ announced they are “in the process of securing capital investment…in order to allow both businesses to more successfully navigate their respective categories”.

In a letter to the company posted on Tough Mudder’s website, Will Dean wrote he is not stepping away completely but that his role at TM, but will be that of “Chairman”. Don Baxter, who has been with Tough Mudder since 2012, and has been COO since May of 2016 will continue to head the Tough Mudder “events side”. Cathrin Bowtell, listed on LinkedIN as SVP of Tough Mudder Bootcamp, will lead the day to day for the “gym business”.

Dean went on to say that he has spent the last 3-4 years traveling back and forth between NYC  and his native United Kingdom. He wrote that “The constant jet lag wears you down and I have spent too too much time apart from the people I love in recent years”. (Dean’s 2nd child was born in June).

The post goes on to say “I am now working on a new venture here in London in an entirely new and unrelated space to Tough Mudder – expect further details next year.” That new and unrelated space is a company called Immersive Games Lab. Which the company’s website states is “part indoor-theme-park, part video game part escape room”. Will hopes to launch a new category the same way he launched one back in 2010 with Tough Mudder.

The complete press release is below along with a link to Dean’s blog post to “The Tough Mudder Tribe”.

Tough Mudder Founder End of Season letter to the Tough Mudder Tribe.

TOUGH MUDDER SPINS OFF THRIVING GYM BUSINESS INTO SEPARATE ENTERPRISE

Move Positions Company for Continued Growth Heading into 2019

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK (November 9, 2018) – Tough Mudder, Inc. founder and CEO Will Dean announced today that the company is in the process of securing capital investment, setting the stage for continued growth in 2019. As part of this, the company will spin off its thriving new fitness business, Tough Mudder Bootcamp, into a separate business enterprise from its traditional live event business in order to allow both businesses to more successfully navigate their respective categories.

Dean will continue to head the Bootcamp business while also supporting the live event side. Both businesses will remain privately held.

“This is absolutely the right strategic move for both businesses,” said Dean, who launched Tough Mudder in 2010. “Tough Mudder Bootcamp, with its fast-paced growth and high potential, will see the benefits of this capital infusion as we add franchising-specific talent to support the rapid growth, as well as creative license to capture its full potential. The live event business needs more diligent focus on cost and the kind of scaling benefits that come from being part of an event bundle.”

Dean also emphasized that all elements originally included as part of the Tough Mudder Bootcamp franchise business remain in place for owners, including the perpetual rights to all Tough Mudder branding; the ability to market directly to Tough Mudder event customers; the right to activate for free at all Tough Mudder events, and the right to sell Tough Mudder live event tickets, among other elements.

“Ultimately, this move will allow us the platform we’ve built in Tough Mudder Bootcamp to continue to build on the fantastic momentum already being generated, while we reinforce the strength of the live events and maintain their success with an infusion of new ideas,” said Dean.

The Tough Mudder Bootcamp fitness business saw record-breaking demand from prospective business owners in its first year of commercialization with nearly 60 units sold, numerous domestic markets already selling out and continuous international demand coming from investors. The business has opened its first two locations and is gearing up to open its third, in Houston, Texas currently.

The Tough Mudder event business saw significant participation growth in 2018, driven in large part by the success of its new, shorter distance Tough Mudder 5K events. The brand has also continued to invest in new and more challenging obstacles as part of its courses, and this week announced 10 new obstacles for its 2019 schedule.

This year, Tough Mudder, Inc. and its licensees hosted an unprecedented 150+ events across nearly a dozen countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, United Arab Emirates, Canada and two new countries, South Africa and the Philippines, welcoming participants worldwide into a global community that embraces courage, personal accomplishment, teamwork and fun.

About Tough Mudder, Inc.
Founded in 2010 with the launch of the Tough Mudder obstacle course event series, Tough Mudder Inc. has become a leading global sports, active lifestyle and media brand. With more than 3 million participants, the company hosts more than 150+ events featuring non-competitive (Mini Mudder; Tough Mudder 5K, Tough Mudder Half, and Tough Mudder Full) and competitive (Tougher, Toughest, Tough Mudder X and World’s Toughest Mudder) offerings annually in nearly a dozen countries including The United Kingdom, The United States, Germany, Australia, United Arab Emirates, Canada, South Africa, the Philippines, Oman and more through its partnerships with IMG, Invictus Events, Pro Active, Let’s Run Ireland and Sports Media and Entertainment 360 (SME360). The company’s content arm provides the millions of engaged online brand enthusiasts with fitness, nutrition and wellness content delivered daily across social and digital platforms. Tough Mudder broadcast, OTT and Live Stream programming can be seen worldwide through partnerships with CBS Sports, Facebook, Sky Sports, The CW Network and ESPN Media Distribution. Other sponsorship and distribution partners include CELSIUS, Merrell, KILL CLIFF, Soap & Glory, Guinness, Jack Link’s, BrewDog, Samsung, Lucozade Sport, Trek, Toyo Tires, Kingstone Press, Black Tower, Strandgut, Snapchat and Live Stream.

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Matt B. Davis

is the host of the Obstacle Racing Media Podcast and the author of "Down and Dirty-The Essential Training Guide for Obstacle Races and Mud Runs". He is also the only (known) #wafflehouseelite obstacle racer.