Beyond the Bike: The Connected Rowing Wars are Heating Up

As funding flows to home fitness startups, the connected rowing wars are getting interesting.

  • In 2019, the global digital fitness market was estimated at $6B. By 2027, the sector is expected to top $59B.

Old school. What gym-goers know as a rower is actually called an ergometer. And Concept2 makes what is widely considered to be the best erg of them all. Founded in 1976 by sibling rowers Dick and Pete Dreissigacker, this bootstrapped, Vermont-based company is the industry standard.

Newcomers. Initially, the bike and boutique-style classes were ground zero for at-home innovation. Then came the treadmill. And more recently, strength training equipment went high-tech. Now, connected fitness companies have taken aim at rowing.

  • Hydrow raised $65M, with sales jumping 400% during COVID, and is exploring a $1B+ IPO
  • Ergatta, a gamified rowing workout, added $30M in funding at a $250M valuation.
  • CITYROW is taking an omnichannel approach, offering in-studio, at-home workouts, and equipment.
  • NordicTrack, Echelon, Aviron, and a host of others offer rowing products.

The elephant(s) in the room. Peloton and Zwift have been rumored to be working on rowers of their own, setting the stage for even more competition in the category.

Be on the lookout. From Tonal and Tempo to Future and TrueCoach, the smart strength category is bulking up as connected equipment makers and investors plot their next move.