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Ex-rugby international seeks £1 million Investment for CBD brand

One of the UK’s fastest-growing wellness brands – which is backed by rugby stars including British and Irish Lion Finn Russell – has launched a crowdfunding campaign aiming to raise £1m to expand into retail and overseas markets.

Puresport was founded in Scotland by former international rugby player Grayson Hart in 2018, with online sales passing £3.5m this year.

It claims that more than 1,000 people have already pre-registered to join the investment round on crowdfunding platform Seedrs.

The firm began as a producer of CBD pain relief for athletes, and has since expanded into new markets including sleep, stress and fitness. Puresport turned over £2m before tax in 2021, with revenues on course to grow to £2.8m this year.

Earlier this year, it became one of the first CBD producers to gain approval for legal sale in the UK, following the introduction of new regulation by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

Puresport was initially a side hustle for scrum-half Hart – who represented New Zealand U20s, Scotland in 7s and full internationals, and the Barbarians during his rugby career – but is now a full focus in retirement for the athlete who played for the Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh Rugby.

The 33-year-old entrepreneur looked to natural products after realising the negative effects of relying on opioid-based painkillers to cope with the rigours of professional rugby.

The London-based start-up has attracted almost 50,000 followers across social media, with a model driven by collaborations with other fitness and wellness brands, including Gymshark.

The company has also circumvented restrictions on advertising CBD products online through its community of advocates, with more than 11,000 people attending the Puresport-run clubs, yoga classes, fitness summits and other brand events in the first half of 2022 alone.

Hart said: “We have built a business, but I’m more proud of the community we’ve created – our success has come from the bottom up.”

His former Scotland teammates Greig Laidlaw and Finn Russell are among those already committed to investing in this round, with more to be announced.

Scotland’s Greig Laidlaw and Finn Russell (Image: sns)

Puresport is also set to grow its team of 12. Its products were recently launched in more than 50 UK Flannels stores, with new e-commerce sites planned in Australia, New Zealand and the US.

Hart added: “We want everyone to benefit from our products, which means being in places like Selfridges and Harrods.

“We’re already experiencing sales from abroad and have had organic iterations of our run clubs in Dublin and Australia.

“We’ve seen how we’ve grown in the UK by starting a real movement, and we’ll do the same in new territories.

“We want to be the driving force behind a global shift towards natural products – mushrooms is an area that is particularly interesting to us and could hold the key to preventing illness and improving body and mind.”

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