Andy Hoang, CEO and Founder of Aviron


In this Q&A, you’ll hear from Andy Hoang, CEO and founder of Aviron, a fitness entertainment company. Andy shares how his struggle with exercise motivation led to creating a gamified rowing machine, with new modalities on the horizon.

Tell us about Aviron.

Andy Hoang: At Aviron, we’re not just creating another fitness product; we’re defining a new way to work out. We create a new category in the wellness space—fitness entertainment—changing how people think and feel about exercise.

Traditionally, workouts have always been about the result, from how you feel to how many calories you burn. In contrast, we’re focused on the workout experience itself. We believe if we can make the journey fun and engaging, people are going to work out more often and with greater intensity, reaching their goals faster and enjoying themselves along the way.

Each feature on the Aviron is thoughtfully curated by game designers and developers to build an ecosystem that immerses the user into a game-like experience, often to the extent that they forget they’re working out. Our short and effective programs target both strength and cardio, saving people time while still providing an effective full-body, low-impact workout at home.

What led you to pursue this opportunity?

AH: Aviron is deeply rooted in my personal journey and experiences.

I’ve always had a passion for being active. For over two decades, I competed in martial arts and loved playing a range of sports, and maintaining a certain level of cardio was important. Yet, despite the overall health benefits, I found cardio workouts uninteresting and impossible to commit to.

I tried machines with instructor-led classes, but that conventional approach didn’t resonate with me; it was just as monotonous as other cardio workouts I tried.

It was not necessarily a motivation problem, either. I grew up with ADHD, making it difficult for me to focus on certain activities. But an exception was video games — I could immerse myself in video games for hours without losing concentration.

This sparked an idea: What if I could combine my love of video games and my passion for sports into fitness equipment? I saw an opportunity to create something that would not only benefit me but also potentially help millions of other people who needed a more engaging fitness experience.

That’s when Aviron started to take shape. I focused on rowing because of its efficiency as a full-body workout and its low impact on joints, making it accessible and effective even for my parents. This approach to fitness equipment design—blending something that’s both effective and engaging—is the core of Aviron’s mission.

How did you turn your idea into a company?

AH: It wasn’t until my idea checked boxes for personal passion and profound impact that I gained the confidence to quit my well-paying job to focus on building Aviron full-time.

The initial five years of Aviron were challenging. I invested my own money, including remortgaging my condo, taking personal loans, selling my car, and moving back home. But, bootstrapping laid the foundation for Aviron’s current success, fostering a culture of resilience and efficiency and preparing us to compete effectively in a market with well-funded competitors. A testament to that, we reached our first $1M in revenue without any institutional capital.

However, in the early stages, we lacked brand recognition and financial resources, which meant we were willing to take 10-hour road trips for meetings, despite the logistical challenges of lugging the 100lb rower (sometimes up four flights of stairs), just for an opportunity to share what we were building.

This hands-on, direct approach was about more than just selling products; it was about building relationships and understanding the market, setting the stage for Aviron’s growth from an idea into a real business.

How big can this get?

AH: The global health and wellness market is substantial and continues to grow steadily. It’s fueled by factors like rising health consciousness, technological advancements in fitness equipment, and the increasing popularity of home and personalized workouts, especially in the wake of COVID.

Aviron plans to tap into the massive health & fitness market by continuing to focus on developing the best products possible. With over 55% of our employees dedicated to the product team—spanning design, customer research, and development—we are strategically positioned to meet and anticipate the evolving needs of the sector.

Committed to product excellence and innovation, I’m proud to say we have the most comfortable rowers out there. Our high-quality Strong Series rowing machines are built to last, featuring an elevated, wider seat and adjustable foot placement that’s exclusive to Aviron, making rowing comfortable for all heights, body types, and fitness levels.

We also just launched a second iteration, StrongGo, the most competitively priced rower on the market. By lowering the barrier of entry, we’re allowing more people to experience best-in-class fitness technology from Aviron.

How do you reach your core customer?

AH: Aviron’s core customer base is primarily composed of people who value variety in their fitness routines, possess a competitive spirit (often rooted in past sports experiences), and/or find it challenging to maintain a consistent workout regimen.

Our platform’s unique blend of fitness and interactive entertainment uniquely appeals to these traits, offering an engaging alternative to traditional instructor-led models.

In terms of customer acquisition, there is no “secret sauce” that we’ve found. We utilize a common multifaceted approach through traditional direct-to-consumer channels. A significant budget is also allocated to performance marketing and participation in expos.

We’ve found that acquiring customers is directly related not only to having a well-differentiated, best-in-class product but also to consistent testing and iterating new channels and content.

To grow our customer base, we focus on two main strategies: refining our existing products to appeal to a wider demographic and launching new products that cater to different segments.

What’s next on the roadmap?

AH: As we look forward to the coming months, Aviron has several key milestones on our roadmap, aligning with our mission to improve the health and happiness of our members through enjoyable exercise and community.

Our vision is to become the world’s leading connected fitness entertainment platform. To quantify this, we aim to positively impact the health and wellness of at least 100K families before the end of 2025.

To do this, we are significantly focusing on broadening the scope of our product offerings. Aviron is not just a rowing machine company — we’re a fitness entertainment company that builds great rowers. We are actively exploring various avenues to diversify our product line to cater to a wider range of fitness preferences and styles.

We also plan to roll out new features and technological advancements in our existing products. We’re proud to release updates at a pace incomparable to most companies, typically launching a major update every six weeks, with the ultimate goal of a four-week cycle.

In the next few months, expect an exciting new multiplayer fishing game that you can play with friends or community members in real time. I’m excited about this one for our members because it’s visually stunning, fun, and, like most of our experiences, has never been done before.

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