Gamified Rowing Startup Aviron Raises $4.5M

Image: Aviron

Connected rowing company Aviron raised $4.5M in new funding from Samsung Next, Formic Ventures, GFC, and Y Combinator.

What it is: Founded in 2019, Aviron hopes to stand out in an increasingly crowded at-home fitness market.

According to founder and CEO Andy Hoang, the company isn’t simply another connected equipment maker. Instead, Hoang said Aviron is a “gaming-first platform on a high-end hardware device.”

Gaming x Fitness

From Hoang’s perspective, there’s a massive opportunity as the $100B fitness market intersects with the $150B gaming industry.

While Peloton paved the way, Hoang differentiated his company, saying Aviron is “the high-intensity Peloton for rowing with multiplayer video games and live races.”

Not to be outdone, Peloton recently announced its foray into gaming-inspired content. More interesting, the company has long been rumored to be preparing a rowing machine to complement its connected fitness lineup.

The big picture. Detailing the gamification of fitness, in Issue No. 131, we wrote:

“The future of fitness looks like a game.”

From Zwift and Liteboxer to Supernatural and FitXR, gaming-inspired options are moving the industry beyond competition-based or instructor-led options alone.

The Rowing Wars

Stationary bikes and treadmills kicked off the Peloton of ‘X’ trend, but the connected rowing wars are heating up.

  • Hydrow raised $65M, with sales jumping 400% during COVID, and is exploring a $1B+ SPAC.
  • Ergatta, a gamified rowing workout, added $30M in funding at a $250M valuation.
  • CITYROW raised $12M in funding for at-home and in-studio rowing.
  • NordicTrack, Echelon, and a host of others offer rowing products.

Looking ahead: From gaming to software and new modalities, like connected strength, the unbundling of the gym has only just begun.