Kabata Adds $5M for AI-Powered Dumbbells


Kabata is loading up ahead of launch.

The news: The smart dumbbell maker secured $5M in a seed round led by Menlo Ventures, with participation from numerous athlete-investors, including NFLer Bradley Chubb.

Building on a $2M raise two years ago, the company is preparing to ship its first units this fall.

What to watch for: Kabata dumbbells use built-in sensors to support velocity-based training (VBT), measuring reps, time under tension, power, and calories.

Its AI-driven software develops a training program based on users’ ability, automatically adjusting weight while adapting exercise based on form quality.

Muscling In

Smart strength remains a work in progress, but the space hasn’t slowed.

  • This month, rowing erg maker Hydrow acquired connected strength platform Speede.
  • Tonal extended its B2B business, inking a hybrid facility partnership with LOVB.
  • Life Fitness and PLAE partnered with VBT-based training platform Perch to create smart racks for weight rooms.

But, finding product-market fit is no easy lift. Despite adding tech to its dumbbells by acquiring VAY, BowFlex filed for bankruptcy. Meanwhile, the fates of connected free weight maker JAXJOX and Peloton’s Guide remain TBD.

Finding new scenes, Litesport is taking real dumbbells into the metaverse, Vitruvian is exploring owned studios, and EōS is using co-branded EGYM strength machines as a premium perk.

Takeaway: Capitalizing on a strength training boom, brands that can turn data into instruction, results, and safety measures have a future. For Kabata, that means proving AI can outlift analog every time.

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