Endurance events startup Let’s Do This raises seed cash from Serena Williams, Usain Bolt

Let’s Do This is a Y Combinator alumni startup from 2018 which is a marketplace for endurance events, from a 5K fun run to an Ironman triathlon. It has now raised a $5 million seed round, with Serena Williams and Usain Bolt participating. The round was led by Pete Flint (partner at NFX, formerly of Trulia and LastMinute).

Other investors include Y Combinator, Shasta, Index and FJ Labs. Other angels were Paul Buchheit (YC, Gmail), Yuri Sagalov (YC, AeroFS), Simon Nixon (MoneySupermarket), Tim Thackrah (Elmsleigh), Paula Radcliffe (marathon world-record holder) and Andy Philips (Booking.com).

The platform lists 30,000 races of all distances and disciplines and claims to be the largest marketplace for endurance events in the world, offering key information about the races and exclusive booking perks for members, such as free cancellation protection.

They have recently agreed to a partnership with Hearst to power all race listings across Runner’s World, Men’s Health and Women’s Health in the U.S. and the U.K.

Serena Williams, the 22-time Grand Slam Champion, said in a statement: “I’ve seen first-hand the incredible impact these events can have on making people fitter, healthier and happier. I love that Let’s Do This is not only making events like these more accessible but also helping to support athletes of all different fitness levels. Women are especially less likely to participate in marathons and obstacle races, so it’s really important there’s a platform encouraging people to step out of their comfort zones and make a positive difference in their lives.”

In a statement Flint said: “This is a $30bn global market with enormous growth potential and already 100 million people crossing a finish line in the US each year. In just 18 months they’ve gone from launch to building the world’s best online marketplace to find, learn about, and book your next race. With over 30,000 events across the US, UK, and Australasia, this team is just getting started.”

Usain Bolt, world-record holder in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m, said: “Throughout my career I’ve been lucky enough to inspire people to follow their dreams, get off the couch and get exercising. That’s what attracted me to Let’s Do This. It’s a company that is totally committed to changing the world and inspiring more people to get out there. Like me, their team doesn’t believe in limits and is totally committed to being the best in the world. It’s a really natural fit with what I care about and what I believe in so I am very happy to be supporting their mission to inspire more people to have epic experiences.”

The company was founded by childhood friends Alex Rose and Sam Browne, who got into the space at university. Their team consists of people from Facebook, Google, Oracle, Deliveroo and SkyScanner.