Hydrow Announces $25M Investment To Leverage Uptick In Consumer Engagement

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CAMBRIDGE, Unites States — Hydrow, maker of at-home rowing machines, has raised $25 million in financing led by L Catterton, as it continues to boost its presence in the rapidly expanding at-home fitness category.

The one-year-old startup is one of a growing number of contenders, including Mirror, Tempo, Future, Echelon, Apex and many more going head-to-head with Peloton to secure their slice of the booming connected, at-home fitness market. 

And, with the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic skyrocketing sales across the category — Hydrow says its sales rose by 400% in April compared to January — it seems investors are chomping at the bit to leverage increased momentum.

“The accelerated demand we’ve seen in recent months has further validated the positive trend toward connected fitness and the increasing adoption of rowing,” revealed Bruce Smith, CEO and Founder of Hydrow.

“Hydrow’s industry-leading consumer engagement is unmatched, and we see an incredible growth opportunity as a result of its ability to deliver a superior and more efficient workout at home,” added Michael Farello, Managing Partner at L Catterton. 

“We’re pleased to have the opportunity to assist Hydrow in further extending its position as a leader in the rapidly growing connected fitness industry.”

In a bid to make the experience of on-water rowing more accessible to the masses, and with consumers relying heavily on connected fitness during the pandemic, Hydrow now plans to expand its content library with more live and on-demand classes. It will also use the fresh cash injection to increase its sales and marketing initiatives to target new customers. But it has some stiff competition on its hands.

According to Term Sheet, at-home weight training startup Tempo, which is backed by Founders Fund, DCM and Khosla Ventures, is currently raising a further $60m in funding to propel its growth. Tonal is also reported to be in talks with existing investors including L Catterton, for additional funding that would value it at more than $250 million — and its founder Aly Orady, an upcoming guest on The Business of Wellness Podcast, believes as the world’s most intelligent fitness system that meets people where they exist, it has the potential to reach the entire population, which it believes translates to a $60bn a year market.

With newer entrants including Forme and Carbon Trainer also starting to make waves, everything points to an increasingly competitive landscape.

Smith however, believes that in the long run, only the strongest will survive. “I think there will be four or five winners,” he told Term Sheet. “We think about it like Microsoft and Apple — or Adidas and Nike.”

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