Issue No. 274: Big Deal

This issue is presented by

The future of proactive, personalized care has arrived.

Two of the industry’s biggest names are joining forces, as global supergroups gain steam.

Better Together

Last week, Orangetheory Fitness and Self Esteem Brands announced plans to merge, establishing a new company in an all-stock deal.

Leveraging prominent brands, global reach, and proven franchise playbooks, this partnership is built to scale.

Orangetheory Fitness. A leading HIIT studio franchisor, OTF’s heart rate-based classes grew to 1.5K locations in 50 US states and 24 countries.

Selling tech-driven training, CEO Dave Long recently told Fitt Insider growth was a top priority, especially internationally.

  • Last fall, it partnered with Digme Fitness to open 26 UK sites by 2026.
  • European studio revenue was up 16.7% in 2023; membership grew 14.7%.

But, when discussing future plans, Long wasn’t set on an IPO, explaining:

“The public market is not a specific goal. It’s really, what are the resources that can do things we just can’t do on our own? Where can we lean in with a potential partner?”

Linking with SEB, OTF found its partner.

Self Esteem Brands. The parent company of Anytime FitnessBasecamp FitnessSUMHIIT Fitness, The Bar Method, Waxing the City, and Stronger U, SEB turns franchises into global juggernauts.

  • SEB counts 5.2K Anytime clubs in 42 countries on seven continents.
  • Before the OTF deal, it was targeting 10K properties globally by 2030.

Pushing expansion, its flagship brand underpins a 3-1-1 strategy, where markets receive one Anytime gym and two studio concepts.

With OTF plugged in, the new entity will implement a proven model, signing area development and master franchise agreements to fuel localized growth.

All for one. Beyond shared resources and newfound efficiencies, the merger creates massive scale, totaling $3.5B in systemwide sales, 7K locations, and 6.5M global members.

Also of note, OTF upgrades SEB’s tech stack, an area it sought to improve via an app and Apple Fitness+ deal.

But, most importantly, the pairing creates additional leverage for future acquisitions as industry-wide consolidation heats up.

Power Pacts

The gym business has changed, and operators are evolving with the times.

As consumer spending on holistic health surges, diversified supergroups are consolidating concepts to capture demand.

  • Lift Brands counts 1K+ Snap Fitness locations, digital platform Fitness On Demand, and a minority stake in 9Round and Fitstop.
  • From Pilates to weight loss to VR, Xponential Fitness’s portfolio spans 10 brands with 717K members, earning $1.4B in systemwide sales.
  • RSG Group operates 13 brands, including Gold’s Gym, McFIT, HEIMAT, and JOHN REED, totaling 4.5M members across 900+ sites in 30 countries.

Muscle in. As brands struggle to reach escape velocity and capital becomes more expensive, expect to see more scaling via strategic partnerships, M&A, or well-funded roll-ups.

Punchline: From holding companies to franchisors and standalone offerings, the fitness space is stacked. But by merging modalities, the new era of integrated operators will unlock accelerated growth while competing for global dominance.

🎙 On the Podcast

Jeff Byers, CEO of Momentous

Momentous CEO Jeff Byers talks redefining the supplement space.

Since taking over the chief executive role following a merger with Amp Human, Jeff shares how the company’s partner ecosystem—including the US military, pro sports teams, and experts like Andrew Huberman—have fueled sales.

We also cover: democratizing high performance, rebuilding culture, adding new funding, and fixing the flawed supplement industry.

Listen to today’s episode here.

🛑 Supersapiens cancels memberships, halts sensor shipments

The metabolic health brand terminated all existing memberships amid “strategic restructuring.”

Notifying users via email, the company also shared an announcement on social media.

Data-driven. Founded in 2019, Supersapiens launched as an energy management platform for athletes, using continuous glucose monitoring to optimize fueling.

After raising $13.5M in 2021, the company encountered a series of roadblocks.

  • Popular with pro cyclists, the sport’s governing body banned CGMs in competition.
  • It was unable to gain FDA approval, limiting availability to select European countries.
  • A recent plan to enter the US and refocus on diabetes care was stifled by a cash crunch.

Highs and lows. Just 12% of Americans are metabolically fit — making glucose tech valuable to many. But, selling CGMs to healthy consumers is complicated.

  • January AI evolved beyond CGMs, offering a device-free glucose-predicting app.
  • Valued at $300M, Levels pivoted its business model, cut staff, and launched blood testing while refining its approach.
  • Zeroing in on sustainable weight loss, Signos added $20M last year.

Looking ahead, the space is growing crowded as hardware makers Abbott and Dexcom debut DTC devices while tech giants like Apple pursue integrated glucose tracking.

Punchline: As Supersapiens plots a path forward, upstarts are adamant — real-time data is key to solving the metabolic health crisis. But, mainstream adoption may require a noninvasive tech breakthrough.

Presented by Lifeforce

💪 The Future of Proactive Care

It’s no secret: sick care is failing us.

But you don’t have to settle for average; Lifeforce offers an upgrade.

A first-of-its-kind proactive performance plan, Lifeforce combines at-home diagnostics, clinical-grade nutraceuticals, hormone therapy, and functional medical support in one convenient membership.

The goal? Optimize the aging process — improving energy levels, body composition, and overall health for a long, fulfilling life.

Level up: Measure your baseline to get started.

🥗 Better-for-you fast casual is gaining

Sweetgreen and CAVA surged after FY23 earnings revealed YoY revenue gains of 24% and 60%, respectively.

Cashing in. Sweetgreen projects profitability in 2024, while CAVA—which IPO’d last year—already hit the mark.

Smart kitchens. Plotting expansion, quick-serve restaurants are betting on tech to boost margins.

  • Sweetgreen will scale robot-run Infinite Kitchens to 10+ locations this year.
  • CAVA is using predictive AI to create hyper-optimized “connected kitchens.”
  • Chipotle is developing a rival concept and testing “cobots” alongside human cooks.

Adding competition, Chipotle founder Steve Ells raised $36M last summer for a fully automated plant-based concept, Kernel.

New school. For Gen Z, the ease, freshness, and price fit the bill.

British restaurant chain Prezzo found that 34% prefer avoiding wait staff and 86% get menu anxiety when faced with too many options or surprise tabs.

Still, they value wellness, with the majority prioritizing healthy food over other expenses.

Punchline: Automating away costs, modern fast-casual concepts aim to maintain ingredient quality at scale. Cheaper than full-service but more nutritious than fast food, they’re catching on with mindful millennial and Gen Z eaters.

📰 News & Notes

  • Global obesity tops 1B people.
  • Bowflex files for bankruptcy, sells assets to Johnson Health Tech.
  • Introducing Wellworthy, a health and wellness discovery platform.
  • Strava integrates with Oura, Open app for holistic wellness metrics.
  • Centr, Inspire Fitness to showcase new strength equipment at IHRSA.
  • Spartan Race teams with Camp Gladiator to host DEKA fitness events.
  • European health club operator Holmes Place launches boutique Pilates concept.
  • HiltonREI invest in glamping properties. [Re-read: Glamping Boosts Outdoor Rec]
  • Enterprise AI management platform Vi names healthcare and life sciences board.
  • Julianne Hough’s KINRGY opens first studio. [Re-read: Xponential Acquires KINRGY]
  • ABC Trainerize taps WRKOUT to help personal trainers monetize recommendations.
  • Beginner’s running app None to Run notches 16K subscribers, 750K logged workouts.
  • Featured role: Healthy Minds Innovations is hiring a Director of Marketing/Communications. Join our talent network to be considered for open roles.

💰 Money Moves

  • High-performance supplement brand Momentous secured a $32M equity investment from VC firm Humble Growth.
  • PGA Tour received a $3B investment from a consortium including rapper Drake, NBAer LeBron James, and actor Chris Pratt.
  • Hard kombucha brand JuneShine acquired organic RTD alcohol maker Flying Embers.
  • Tiny Health, developer of DTC gut tests for infants, raised $8.5M in a Series A round led by Spero Ventures.
  • Wraparound GI care company Salvo Health closed a $5M seed prime round led by City Light Capital and Human Ventures.
    More from Fitt Insider: Gut Care
  • The Beachbody Company completed a sale-leaseback of a California production facility worth $6.2M.
  • Stress-relieving wearable maker Roga raised $1M in a pre-seed round.
  • Swiss startup Aktiia, makers of a noninvasive continuous blood pressure monitor, closed a $30M round led by Redalpine with support from Khosla VenturesMolten, and others.
  • ExaCare, a management software for senior living operators, raised $6.5M in new funding.
  • Employee health benefits platform Healthee raised $32M in a Series A round.
  • Digital media brand WebMD acquired Healthwise, an online clinical education company.

Today’s newsletter was brought to you by Anthony Vennare, Joe Vennare, Ryan Deer, and Jasmina Breen.

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