Exited in 2007

Maximuscle was founded in 1995 by Zef Eisenberg who had been a highly successful bodybuilder, and who published an exposé of the industry’s marketing hype, based on his research into which products would work to build muscle
and burn fat.

On the back of a sell-out print run of his book, Zef started to offer specific products he trusted through a small mail order catalogue.


In 2002 Zef won the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and by 2004 turnover at Maximuscle had grown to £8m but growth had stalled. It was this that prompted the decision to bring in a partner to help the business with the next stage of growth, enabling its founder to realise some value from the business and to use additional funding to support growth of a professional management team, investment in branding and marketing in order to build the leading brand.

Reflecting on his choice of Piper as partner when the business was sold in 2007 Zef remarked

“It’s been an interesting, educational, and challenging journey… I would like to thank you for your support, 100% commitment, professionalism, focus and attention in helping the business get to where it has and making this deal happen. I am confident that I chose the right VC at the time and I maintain
that now.”


Through its partnership with Maximuscle, Piper was able to add value by:

  • Providing customer insight to help broaden brand appeal, resulting in a 3x increase in sales
  • Using its knowledge and experience of direct retailing to drive up customer recruitment and retention
  • Helping to identify management gaps and assist with recruitment of key executives – CEO, Sales Direct and Marketing Director
  • Focusing on margin management to achieve a 5x increase in profits

They add unique value through their customer understanding. They genuinely know how to grow brands

Paul Hick, Chairman, Maximuscle

The journey

1993 Zef Eisenberg prints 24,000 copies of his exposé on sports nutrition
1995 Maximuscle sells its first products
1998 The website is created
2002 Eisenberg wins Young Entrepreneur of the Year
2004 Piper invests. Sales £8.6m EBITD £1.6m
2005 Maximuscle is rebranded and targets fitness focused, 18 - 30 year old men
2006 Products for women launched and distribution achieved in Boots
2007 Piper exits. Sales £26.8m. EBITDA £7.4m
2010 Maximuscle is bought by GSK for £162m

Piper sells Maximuscle to Darwin PE

[14 Dec 2007] - Piper has sold Maximuscle to Darwin Private Equity for £75m, providing Piper with a 10x multiple on its investment in just over three years Maximuscle…

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Current investments