Science-led testing designed for athletes benefits from investment boost
The winners of the ‘Welsh Innovation of the Year Award’ at the Welsh SME Business Awards 2019, Forth, are set to turnover £1million this year following a £250,000 equity investment from the Development Bank of Wales.
Founded in 2016 by female entrepreneur Sarah Bolt, the Chepstow based business creates personal biomarker profiles using at-home blood testing kits.
With over 10,000 users, Forth’s customers are provided with an understanding of their body’s key internal biomarkers for good health using a simple pinprick blood test. The scientific blood testing is undertaken at accredited labs then uploaded to their customer’s personalised results dashboard accessible through the web portal or the Forth app.
Working with an expert team of biochemists and medical doctors, Forth has identified the most relevant and accurate biomarkers for fitness, general well-being and hormone health. Tests include female fertility, menopause, thyroid checks, testosterone, cholesterol and diabetes.
In the past two years, based on consumer demand, Forth has also developed the only sports-specific bio tracking service in the world designed to optimise endurance, power and strength, known as Forth Edge. The primary market is endurance athletes, such as road cyclists, triathletes and Ironman participants. The kits are designed for both amateur and professional athletes who want to improve their performance and set new PB’s. The results give athletes insight into whether they are over-trained, under recovered or need to improve their diet.
Each Forth Edge kit has been specifically tailored to the main type of exercise activity and include both a male and female version, ensuring only the most relevant biomarkers are analysed and interpreted.
Personalised test profiles can also be created. Using an unique algorithm which was developed in conjunction with the sports science team at Swansea University, users to build their own test tailored to their circumstances such as the number of hours spent training, the type of activity and any areas of concern or existing conditions.
The £250,000 equity co-investment from the Development Bank of Wales was as a result of an introduction by business angel Craig Gulliford, CEO of Creo Medical. Creo was the fourth company in the Development Bank’s technology venture portfolio to have listed on AIM within four years. The company has successfully raised over £100 million with their initial public offering (IPO) in December 2016 and subsequent raises on the London Stock Exchange through AIM.
Sarah Bolt is founder and Chief Executive of Forth. She said: “People want to gain more insight into their own health in order to reach their personal best. Our results dashboard is intuitive and easy to understand so that we can empower the consumer to understand more about their own body. Results of the at-home tests are processed within 48 hours via a personalised dashboard and I am proud to say that we are the only biomarker profiling company to offer our customer a mobile app.
“With the support of Craig Gulliford and the Development Bank of Wales, we are now well-placed to further develop our offering with plans to export to Europe later this year. This is a new market so it took confidence on their part to believe in our product and support us with our mission to help the new digital health consumer to be the best they can be.”
Dr. Richard Thompson, Senior Investment Executive with the Development Bank of Wales said:
“Forth has made exciting progress since Sarah and her team relocated their headquarters to Wales. They have great products backed by scientific expertise. Sarah’s passion to improve people’s health is impressive and we’re pleased she is part of our growing portfolio of businesses founded by entrepreneurial women. It’s a pleasure to continue working with Craig following the success of Creo and to see him share his expertise with another exciting Welsh tech venture.
Craig Gulliford, CEO of CREO Medical was one of the first investors in Forth. He said: “When I first met Sarah I was interested in the proposition she had as well as her tenacity, passion and determination to succeed with the project.
“Consumers have already shown they are more than happy to spend on numerous products and services that empower them to take control over their health. Web-based step counting, sleep patterns, DNA testing, heart rate, weight, body composition and many others have become a part of life for many. Forth and Forth Edge is another step towards deeper integration where people can monitor external metrics alongside internal measures which naturally go hand in hand.
“Sarah’s vision for Forth to be a technological leader in this sector with the first app-based dashboard of key biomarkers really struck me as pioneering the next phase of this large and growing market, with the opportunity to continue to pioneer greater integration of health, nutrition and personalised wellbeing. Since my initial investment the company has gone from scratch to recurring revenues and consistent quarterly growth with significant revenue coming through subscription which indicates that consumers value ongoing pre-emptive investment in their health. The whole team have done a fantastic job so far and this is really just the beginning of a roadmap of exciting developments of this technology ”