rowing up in Auckland, New Zealand, Sam Cole dreamt of playing rugby for his country. And until around the age of 16 he was on course for the All Blacks call-up. But then he had a realisation: “I was just not good enough to be a pro.” Fortunately, a few years later, he had a second realisation: “When you’re playing a team sport, it doesn’t feel like you’re doing exercise, you’re just playing. You’re in a ‘flow state’. I thought it must be possible to bring that same feeling to exercise – so that you forget that you’re exercising and you’re just having fun.” The result is that Cole switched from All Blacks glory to becoming CEO and co-founder of FitXR, which offers virtual reality dance and boxing classes that take the work out of workout.
Cole took a law degree at Otago University in Dunedin then came over to England in 2014 accompanied by his half-Kiwi half-Yorkshire wife. He worked in finance for a year then took time out to do an MBA at the Judge Business School in Cambridge, which is where he joined forces with his co-founder, Sameer Baroova. Sam and Sameer met, in fact, at the interview dinner at Queens’ College before they had even been accepted. And they immediately started talking about what would become FitXR.