What started seven years ago as a small business selling dance instruction DVDs has turned into a digital content hub focused on helping children get fit.
Imoves was founded by South Yorkshire dance instructor Imogen Buxton-Pickles. The company’s co-founder and commercial director (not to mention also husband of Imogen), Ian Pickles, says it was a slow-burn business at first. It really started to pick up pace when they launched their first website. The company is now a team of 10, and turnover has grown from £10,000 to £200,000 in three years.
Sheffield-based Imoves offers a variety of dance-focused lesson plans, complete with video demonstrations and a pupil assessment tool. Over time, the company has responded to demand from schools by adding classes in gymnastics, football and other parts of the PE curriculum.
“Over time we’ve learned how to make it easy for teachers and fun for students,” says Pickles. The company collaborates with experts to develop lesson plans and produces each video specifically to accompany the course material.
Pickles names Nashville’s GoNoodle as the company’s biggest rival. However, while both firms focus on dance and short activity sessions, Imoves is more tightly integrated with the school curriculum.
September will see the next chapter of the Imoves story unfold as it launches Active Schools. This new website and set of resources will focus on tackling childhood obesity. The company will also support UK Active’s National Fitness Day on 27 September with content to support the ’10TEN10 Challenge.’
Beyond schools, Imoves has its eyes on the home. “We want to push activity into the home via PE homework,” says Pickles. The idea is that once parents see the classes, it will open up a new market for the company to sell to. There’s also the potential to expand overseas. Pickles says localisation of the content shouldn’t be too much of a burden.
Imoves has been largely bootstrapped to date. Pickles says they recently took out a loan to fund the Active Schools launch and are now seeking investment to fund Active Home. The company recently took part in (and won) the Active Lab accelerator programme, alongside fellow Northern firm Amaven.