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HERA Clothing owner invests in unique hybrid football start-up

The Business Magazine article image for: HERA Clothing owner invests in unique hybrid football start-up
Players taking part in Panna
22 November 2023
Players taking part in Panna

The owner of Cheltenham-based streetwear brand HERA Clothing and former Chairman and Director of Solihull-headquartered gym and athleisure brand Gymshark has been appointed as Chairman of innovative sports company, KickX, with ambitious plans to scale the business nationwide and bring a new category of sport to the masses.

KickX is committed to introducing brand-new categories of football to the UK that are inclusive for all players and appeal to the mass market, inspired by the popularity of hybrid sport formats like Padel Tennis across the world.

The Surrey-based sports company launched the world’s first hybrid football arena this month where customers can challenge themselves in a variety of football-based games including Padbol, Panna, Jorkyball, Teqball and a VR version for the first time, bringing a new dimension to the nation’s favourite sport.

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Each format combines core football skills with other sports, challenges and technologies to enable the development of skills and technical abilities in a fun, social and inclusive environment. Ambassadors include former Lioness, Katie Chapman, and Para Lions captain, Jamie Clarke, who will both represent the UK in the upcoming Padbol World Cup in Brazil.

Paul Richardson, who has a personal interest in sport and fitness, will be using his business experience of growing companies into household names to oversee KickX’s imminent and long-term strategy, with plans to introduce KickX into each major city in the UK.

Paul boasts an impressive record of investing in and growing brands into successful enterprises. Most notably, he was instrumental in helping Gymshark to dominate the leisurewear market, having served in Executive Chairman and Executive Director positions during its exponential growth.

Prior to that, Paul was a joint owner of AllSaints, expanding the brand from five to 12 stores between 2002 and 2004. Most recently, he bought 100 per cent shareholding in Hera Clothing and took the position of Executive Chairman. He is helping his daughters Holly and Georgia grow the streetwear brand in the UK, USA and Europe.

Speaking of his new role, Paul said: “This is an investment and opportunity that will allow me to merge my passions with my business experience. We often see street football as the kick-starter for developing fantastic technical football players, KickX takes this development from the streets to a safe, social and inclusive space.

“For the customer, it’s dynamic, intense and physical, while the business has a flexible model that is scalable and that’s why I invested. I’m confident that by working with the team we can bring a KickX Arena to each UK major city in the near future.”

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Vik Sharma, co-founder of KickX commented: “It’s equally reassuring and exciting to have the backing of Mr Richardson for our business. He’s no stranger to being disruptive and growing categories within new markets, which is exactly what we’re looking to achieve.

“KickX is not merely another sports centre, it’s a brand-new category of sport that gets people moving in an inclusive, safe and innovative environment. The goal is to pivot the beautiful game so it’s appealing for all ages, genders and abilities, and the launch of the first KickX Arena is the very beginning of this story.”

The first KickX arena opened on Saturday, November 4 with a private launch event for 150 supporters, investors and partners.


Peter Davison is deputy editor of The Business Magazine. He has spent his life in journalism – doing work experience in newsrooms in and around Bristol while still at school, and landing his first job on a local newspaper aged 19. By 28 he was the youngest newspaper editor in the country.

An early advocate of online news, he spent the first years of the 2000s telling his bosses that the internet posed both the biggest opportunity and greatest threat to the newspaper industry and the art of journalism. He was right on both counts.

Since 2006 he has enjoyed a career as a freelance journalist. He lives in rural Wiltshire with one wife, two children, and three cats.

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