Hydrow, makers of a connected rowing machine, raised $55M in a Series D round led by Constitution Capital, with participation from L Catterton, Rx3 Growth Partners, and others.
As the at-home fitness industry comes back down to earth, the stakes are even higher for category-leading companies like Hydrow.
High on Hydrow
Founded in 2017, the brand has attracted more than $255M in funding to date, including early backing from comedian Kevin Hart, who was named Hydrow’s creative director in 2020.
Its signature product, an electromagnetic rowing machine with 22” screen, sells for $2,495, plus a monthly subscription fee for live and on-demand classes. But sticker shock doesn’t seem to be an issue — in 2021, Hydrow reported 300% YoY growth, reaching 200K users.
For Hydrow, its biggest upside may be its effectiveness. A rowing workout recruits 86% of the muscles in your body, with a full session averaging just 20 minutes — important distinctions from many stationary bike and treadmill workouts.
The Connected Rowing Wars
- Ergatta raised $30M last year at a $200M valuation. CEO Tom Aulet told us sales of its game-based rower grew 4.5x YoY in 2021, with “tens of thousands” of subscribers.
- Omnichannel concept CITYROW scored $12M in July 2021. CEO Helaine Knapp said the company’s omnichannel concept saw at-home sales increase 375% last year while also selling 64 brick-and-mortar franchises.
- Aviron, a gamified rower, secured $18.5M in February 2022. Between 2020 and 2021, its paying subscriber base grew 2,700%, while 2021 revenue rose 700% YoY.
- With backing from Jay-Z’s Marcy Venture Partners, LIT Method is scaling its hybrid water rower/Pilates reformer for at-home use.
In February, on the Fitt Insider Podcast, Hydrow CEO Bruce Smith spoke to his rower’s staying power over other categories of connected fitness:
“There’s a hunger for things that are efficient and really engaging, but above all, people recognize time is the most valuable commodity we’ve got, and that’s why bike companies have a hard thing to sell.”
Takeaway: Hydrow’s new funding will allow it to boost marketing efforts and refine its experience while fending off rival rowers. Per the podcast, this strategy is all about laying the foundation as a “lifetime brand.”