Connected Strength Startup Arena Raises $5.2M in Seed Funding

Seeking to revolutionize strength training, Arena raised $5.2M in seed funding.

Courtside Ventures, Powerhouse Capital, and Wellness Holding, the investment office of the Technogym founders, were among the major investors in the round.

Of note, Equinox Group co-founder Lavinia Errico, Anthony and Joe Vennare of Fitt Insider*, New York Jets wide receiver Braxton Berrios, and Russ Angold, co-founder of Ekso Bionics, also participated.

Smart strength. Going beyond cardio equipment and boutique-style classes, strength training is the next frontier of connected fitness.

A fresh approach in the smart gym space, Arena has developed a portable device for dynamic resistance training. Unlike a wall-mounted unit or full set of weights, Arena’s versatile machine weighs in at about 60lbs. But, with the touch of a smartphone app, it’s capable of generating 200lbs of resistance.

Pointing to the growing opportunity in the category, Arena investor Deepen Parikh of Courtside Ventures said:

“Nearly 60% of US adults do not participate in any form of strength training, which can greatly impact the quality of life and long-term health.”

Bulking Up

The smart strength category is bulking up as connected equipment makers and investors plot their next move.

  • Tonal has raised $450M in all, valuing this AI-powered smart gym at $1.6B.
  • Combining free weights and 3D sensors, Tempo has raised nearly $300M.
  • FORME looks to enter strength training with its “Lift” model.
  • Elsewhere, OxeFit, JAXJOX, and Carbon Trainer are also in the mix.

Beyond the bike. As Peloton expands its connected fitness ecosystem, CEO John Foley has teased the company’s entrance into strength training. At last year’s Goldman Sachs Technology & Internet Conference, Foley said:

“We have crazy stuff in our R&D lab.” Being more direct, he continued: “We say we’re going to win strength. And we’re going to win strength.”

Not tipping his hand, Foley said Peloton is going to win the strength category, “whether hardware is required or not.”

From a pure content play to introducing new hardware, Foley said the company is going to make several bets in strength and see which ones resonate with its members.

Punchline: Smart or not, the strength training category has never been stronger. This fact will lead to further innovation in the sector while setting the stage for potential acquisitions as companies look to expand their connected fitness offerings.

*We invest in early-stage health, fitness, and wellness companies. Learn more, and get in touch, here.

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