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Fitt Insider Debrief: iFIT Files for IPO, WHOOP Acquires PUSH, Apple Watch is All-in on Health

Welcome to the Fitt Insider Weekly Debrief. Every weekend, we compile the top stories impacting the business of fitness and wellness from the past week.

Here’s what you need to know for September 5, 2021…

  • iFIT files to go public
  • WHOOP puts new funding to work
  • Apple Watch readies health upgrades

Going Public

iFIT Health & Fitness has filed to go public.

Formerly known as ICON, iFIT is the parent company of NordicTrack, Freemotion, and SWEAT, among other fitness brands.

By the numbers. According to iFIT’s S-1, the company was bolstered by the pandemic, seeing record sales and membership growth.

  • In fiscal 2019, sales reached $700M. Last year, that number jumped to $851.7M. Climbing again in fiscal 2021, revenue reached $1.7B.
  • Across its portfolio, the company claims 6.1M members with 1.5M fitness subscribers, who pay to access content, in over 120 countries.

By comparison… Peloton reported $937M in revenue for fiscal Q4 2021. Looking ahead to 2022, the company is forecasting $5.4B in revenue with 3.63M connected fitness subscribers.

Elsewhere, on the heels of an encouraging earnings report, fitness equipment maker Nautilus is acquiring VAY, a motion technology company. Utilizing computer vision and AI, VAY analyzes human movement, providing personalized feedback on repetitions and form.

Why it’s interesting: As software eats fitness, and healthy movement becomes a priority, digital fitness companies—from Peloton to Cure.fit—are doubling down on motion tracking.

The big picture: Across the fitness industry, connected equipment makers and brick-and-mortar operators are lining up to go public. In recent months, Beachbody, Xponential Fitness, and F45 Training made their stock market debut.

Hoping the at-home workout craze sticks, Echelon, Hydrow, or Tonal could follow iFIT.

The High-Performance Platform 

It was a massive week for WHOOP, and the high-performance movement in general.

To the moon. Touting itself as the “most valuable wearables company in the world,” WHOOP raised $200M in Series F funding at a $3.6B valuation. This investment follows a $100M Series E round from October of last year that valued the company at $1.2B.

Putting the capital to work, WHOOP CEO Will Ahmed said the company is eyeing international expansion and acquisitions among key objectives.

Wasting no time, two days later, the company announced it was acquiring PUSH — a wearable focused on strength training and velocity-based performance data.

What to watch for. Popular with athletes, strength coaches, and military operators, PUSH aligns with WHOOP’s focus on high performance, providing its cult-like userbase with more detailed data on weight training and functional fitness.

Of note, PUSH has also developed Portal, a remote training platform geared towards strength coaches. Looking ahead, WHOOP could leverage the data it collects to enter the coaching space, launching an athlete management software along the lines of TrueCoach or TrainingPeaks.

In related news: Last week, smart mattress maker Eight Sleep announced an $86M funding round to revolutionize sleep technology. From fitness trackers and glucose monitors to at-home test kits, health optimization startups are booming.

On the Clock 

According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, health will be the tech giant’s greatest contribution to mankind. But if that’s the case, customers will have to wait a little longer.

A recent Wall Street Journal report said upgraded health features are coming to the Apple Watch. However, they won’t be ready for the seventh version of the Watch, set to be released in the weeks ahead.

Work in progress. As Cook sees it, beyond activity tracking, the company’s smartwatch empowers the “individual to manage their health.” To that end, Apple plans to bulk up Watch’s health monitoring capabilities, enabling:

  • Blood pressure measurement
  • Body temperature detection
  • Sleep apnea monitoring
  • Ovulation tracking and fertility planning

A step further, in an effort to spot diabetes, the company has long planned to incorporate non-invasive glucose monitoring into the device. For now, the feature remains out of reach. But, when it’s realized, Apple could be stiff competition for glucose monitoring startups.

The big picture: As we detailed in Issue No. 136, Apple’s Plan to Reimagine Healthcare, the company has its sights set on transforming a trillion-dollar industry.

  • This year, US healthcare spending will top $4T, jumping to $6.9T by 2028.
  • Analysts estimate Apple could earn $15B from health services in 2021, with the potential to reach $300B by 2027.

Punchline: From health tracking to primary care and telehealth, Apple is working on a number of initiatives aimed at revolutionizing well-being. While a foolproof solution seems a long way off, growing interest from the likes of Apple and Amazon, as well as record levels of venture funding, bodes well for the future of personalized care.

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