Peloton might by the hot brand in connected fitness, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t companies starting up left and right to nip at their heels. According to Bloomberg, Hydrow has raised $25 million to compete against Peloton. Hydrow makes a $2199 rowing machine that is competing for their share of the connected fitness market.
The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based startup, which has seen sales jump by 400% during the pandemic, intends to expand rowing content and mat-based strength and yoga offerings, Chief Executive Officer Bruce Smith said in an interview. The proceeds will also help pay for nationwide sales and marketing efforts as it focuses on direct-to-consumer distribution, Smith said.
Echelon Fitness, who I reviewed for 9to5Mac, also makes a connected rowing machine. As this market continues to mature, companies are going to look past the biking and treadmill markets to reach new customers.
Hydrow has partnerships with schools including Texas A&M University, Boston’s Suffolk University and Babson College. Its machines are also available at high-end locations such as the Boca Raton Beach Club, a Waldorf Astoria resort, the Drake in Chicago and the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton, Dallas, as well as gyms including Anatomy in Miami.
“The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of at-home fitness but we strongly believe that people will go back to the gym,” Smith said. “So we want to be at home, at the gym, at your hotel and when your kids go to college, we’ll be there too.”
I firmly believe that the in-home fitness market is here to stay even after COVID-19. It’s more convenient and often more cost-effective in the long term when sharing monthly subscriptions with family. Hydrow is $38 per month.
The key strategy for these companies going is to build their ‘brand’ as the premier fitness brand. That will include at home fitness, outdoors, gear, clothing, etc. Hydrow is now valued at more than $100 million.