Virtual training platform Zwift has joined a very exclusive bike industry club, achieving a valuation north of $1 billion following a series C funding round that raised $450 million.
Among the investors throwing cash behind the funding round bike maker Specialized’s venture capital fund Zone 5 Ventures joined Permira, and the Amazon Alexa Fund. They join prior investors, including Novator, Causeway Media and True, among others.
It has now been speculated, with indoor exercise rival Peloton surging in value, that Zwift may be on the verge of investing in the creation of hardware. Within the announcement no expansion upon that was given, only that we are to expect hardware.
At present members of Zwift will link their accounts to compatible turbo trainers from the likes of Wattbike, Wahoo and Tacx, among others. Riders wishing to compete on the platform are required to have further hardware in the form of a power meter on the bike or as part of the trainer itself.
With over 2.5 million accounts registered inside five years Zwift has quickly expanded worldwide, now boasting users in 190 countries. As has been well documented, the indoor trainer market was one of the early and greatest beneficiaries of the Covid-19 pandemic, with people opting to up their quota of indoors exercise.
“With this investment, Zwift is primed to operate in a broader fitness market and deliver on our ambition to provide gamified fitness through integrated software and hardware, to anyone who wants to have fun while getting fit at home,” said CEO Eric Min. “We will be accelerating our investment in the core business, improving the overall product experience, and bringing forward new features, more content and Zwift designed hardware, all with the support of KKR and our new outside investors who can help drive our growth. To make this happen, we will be increasing headcount within our core product teams, investing in the very best people. We begin by welcoming Ilkka Paananen to Zwift both as an investor and independent board member.”
Investment firm KKR led the funding round with director Stephen Shanley saying: “Zwift is the preeminent digital brand for the global cycling community with a best-in-class product that sits at the intersection of digital health, gaming and at-home fitness. 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. This investment fits perfectly with our growth equity strategy of backing leading tech entrepreneurs as they scale globally.”