Indoor, at-home training is apparently an in thing right now during the age of social distancing and coronavirus restrictions.
Fitness platform Zwift on Wednesday (Sept. 16) unveiled a $450 million injection of capital by a group of investors led by KKR in exchange for a minority stake in the company.
The Long Beach, Calif.-based startup plans to use the money to speed up work on its core home workout system and “bring Zwift-designed hardware to market,” the company said in a press release.
Zwift’s indoor fitness system leverages gaming technology to connect cyclists and runners with others also working out in their homes in “immersive 3D computer-generated worlds,” according to the company. Users compete and train and compete together using in-game avatars.
The software platform features 10 virtual worlds with 240 miles of terrain, with a mix of “structured training plans … group rides … and hundreds of daily mass participation events,” the company said.
Zwift’s platform and app are attracting the interest of investors at a time when the ability to work out at home while also connecting socially has become particularly relevant as the coronavirus pandemic grinds on.
Overall, home exercise and equipment makers like Tempo, Mirror, and Peloton have attracted heavy investor interest as gyms have been forced to shut down by state and city governments.
“We see tremendous potential ahead as Zwift invests further in its digital and physical products to enhance the experience for its global community of enthusiastic users,” said Stephen Shanley, director at KKR, in a press statement. “This investment fits perfectly with our growth equity strategy of backing leading tech entrepreneurs as they scale globally.”
New investors Permira, Specialized Bicycle Components’ venture capital fund, Zone 5 Ventures and the Amazon Alexa Fund joined existing investors, including True, Highland Europe, Novator and Causeway Media in the $450 million investment led by KKR.
Founded in 2015, Zwift now claims 2.5 million accounts in 190 countries.