Whoop Valued at $1.2 Billion With IVP, SoftBank, Eli Manning Backing
Whoop, the maker of a wearable device that tracks sleep among other health metrics, is valued at $1.2 billion after raising $100 million from investors including venture capital firmIVP, SoftBank Vision Fund and athletes including Eli Manning, Larry Fitzgerald and Patrick Mahomes.
“Consumer demand is growing as people become more interested in taking health into their own hands,” Whoop founder and Chief Executive Officer Will Ahmed said in an interview. The Boston-based company will spend the newly raised capital on developing technology and accelerating growth by bolstering marketing in countries to which it already ships such as Australia, France, Germany and Spain, he said. Funds will also be used to bolster a recruiting effort that has already seen the company add more than 200 new staff this year, taking its headcount to over 325.
The wearable technology startup charges a monthly subscription fee in exchange for providing data to users — collected from the Whoop Strap it supplies at no additional cost — that can influence how they work out, recover and sleep. After four months of use, members dedicated an additional 41 minutes to sleep each night and reduced their resting heart rates by about 4.4 beats per minute, the company touts on itswebsite.
“Whoop data shows users are making different lifestyle decisions such as consuming less alcohol in order to improve quality of sleep,” said IVP general partner Eric Liaw, who has joined Whoop’s board. Both he and Ahmed referred to the company’s “hypergrowth” but declined to provide specific information on Whoop’s subscription base or other metrics.
The company’s data may help indicate if a user has contracted Covid-19. In June, despite not experiencing other symptoms, professional golfer Nick Watney sought a test after Whoop data showed his breaths per minute were elevated. He tested positive for the virus, and ultimately withdrew from the RBC Heritage.
Existing investors such as basketball star Kevin Durant’s Thirty Five Ventures, golfers Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas and billionaire cryptocurrency bull Mike Novogratz also participated in the funding round, as did firms including Two Sigma Ventures,Accomplice, Collaborative Fund, Thursday Ventures, NextView Ventures, Promus Ventures, Cavu Ventures and D20 Capital. Earlier investors who didn’t join this round include Twitter Inc. CEO Jack Dorsey and Mousse Partners, whichmanages the wealth of the brothers who own the luxury Chanel empire, Ahmed said.
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Companies operating in the fitness sector have benefited from heightened consumer focus on wellness during the pandemic. Makers of apparel, hardware and software such as Gymshark, Tonal and Zwift have raised millions of dollars from investors betting that the home fitness trend will endure.
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