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 November 21, 2021…
- AllTrails lands $150M
- JuneShine scores $24M
- Ex-Nike execs launch “Gravity” sportswear line
The Great, Lucrative Outdoors
AllTrails, a platform for discovering hiking and biking trails, secured $150M from British investment firm Permira.
Profitable since 2017, the digital resource wants to capture more of the COVID-19 pandemic outdoor recreation boom.
AllTrails, founded in 2010, has become a go-to for anyone seeking nearby trails and recreation areas.
The company’s database and app provides trail maps and descriptions while crowdsourcing community photos and commentary. The result is the most comprehensive, robust resource of its kind — it’s on track to list 300,000 trails across 200 countries.
AllTrails’ basic service comes free of charge through an ad-supported framework, where users can look up a trail by location without commitment. However, its Pro subscription provides added value, eliminating ads while enabling offline map guidance, real-time route alerts, emergency status notifications, and map overlays displaying weather, pollen, and air quality.
And though there are no winners in a global pandemic, AllTrails has hit impressive milestones as exercisers and first-time adventurers have flocked en masse to the great outdoors:
- 171% more user-logged hikes in 2020 vs. 2019
- Recently eclipsed 40 million app downloads and 30 million registered users
- Attracted 100 million visitors to its site in the past 12 months
- Reached 1 million paying Pro subscribers in January 2021
With sustained interest in the outdoors, AllTrails’ new investment—adding to a $75M fundraising round in 2018—will go primarily toward product development. In creating such value, AllTrails will seek to turn more of its free users into subscribers, as well as scale its international footprint in the surging outdoor economy.
Outdoors is In
While gym attendance has ebbed and flowed through lockdowns and re-openings, the outdoor revival—even beyond hiking and biking—has continued its uphill trek.
- 8.1M more Americans hiked last year than in 2019.
- 10.1M households camped for the first time in 2020, a 5x increase from 2019.
- The hiking & outdoor gear market was valued at $6.6B in 2021.
In AllTrails territory, resources and media for the outdoors crowd have also seen exponential growth. Taking notice, VC has caught a whiff of the mountain air and is seeing green.
- Hipcamp, the “Airbnb of camping”, closed $57M in a January Series C.
- Media company Outside secured a $150M Series B in February 2021.
- Fitness activity tracking platform Strava raised $110M in late 2020, valuing the company north of $1.5B.
Zooming out: The outdoors, something that has always been right out the door, has emerged as the de facto, no-barrier outlet for physical and mental well-being. Missing, though, is a social community exclusive to the outdoorsy and adventure-curious to interact. With discovery and subscription model already in place, AllTrails will need to stoke its digital campfire to keep its growing userbase engaged — and paying.
Hard kombucha company JuneShine closed a $24M Series B funding round led by investors including Amberstone and Litani Ventures, the principals behind RXBAR.
Launched in 2018 and bootstrapped by its founders, the company secured a seed investment in 2019 and an undisclosed Series A earlier this year.
With the new cash influx, JuneShine plans to expand into the wider category of better-for-you brews with seltzers and low- or no-alcohol craft beers.
Lighter and Brighter
Organic, probiotic, and gluten-free, JuneShine offers health-conscious revelers a tangy alternative to hard seltzer.
With functional ingredients and snazzy, IG-ready packaging, the San Diego-based brewer is a leader in the hard kombucha space.
- Claiming nearly half of the hard kombucha pie, JuneShine is set to keep pace with the segment, which is expanding 50% YoY.
- Revenues tripled from 2019 to 2020 and are on track to double again this year to $30M, fueled by retail growth and new product lines.
- Shining in retail, the brand’s chain placements are up 91%; chain volume is up 145%.
JuneShine also plans to fund the development of brick-and-mortar tasting rooms outside of California and work with its celebrity ambassadors to launch new flavors.
Fresh off of sober October, mindful drinkers are driving the growth of the healthier booze market.
- Interest in non-alcoholic beverages is steadily growing in the US, with demand up 60% YoY.
- Over half of Americans say they’re trying to drink less; that number jumps to 66% for Gen Z and millennials.
JuneShine isn’t the only better-for-you brew looking to capitalize on the $30B non-alcoholic market:
- Non-alcoholic spirit maker Lyre raised $37M this week at a $500M valuation.
- Functional, non-alcoholic beverage brand Three Spirit reported 11x growth in domestic sales through August this year and just raised $3M in seed funding.
- Alcohol-free craft beer and wine startup Gruvi raised $2M in seed capital in September in a raise led by Rockies Venture Club.
- NA beer company Athletic Brewing grabbed $50M this summer.
Meanwhile, Ritual Zero Proof reported 241% in revenue growth last year and is rolling out into retail after partnering with Whole Foods in October.
Takeaway: After a pandemic-driven spike in alcohol consumption, consumer behavior is shifting. These days, many just want a night out without the morning-after regrets. Whether that’s making drinks with healthier alcohol, lower alcohol, or no alcohol, mindful liquor brands are here to tend to your cocktail fix.
Ex-Nike Execs Launch OMORPHO
Portland-based sports apparel company OMORPHO launched after raising $5M in a seed funding round led by KB Partners, with participation from Bullish, Viking Maccabee, and others.
Its coinciding product debut, GRAVITY SPORTSWEAR, delivers an innovative line of weighted garments to an increasingly technical activewear market.
Spearheaded by ex-Nike VP of global digital innovation Stefan Olander and joined by a group of nearly 20 execs with Nike ties, OMORPHO is bucking the trend of lightweight threads in the name of performance.
With weighted polyurethane microbeads dotting the exterior of tops, vests, compression shorts, tights, and more, the GRAVITY line can add as little as seven ounces and as much as 10 pounds depending on the garment — all while achieving a superhero aesthetic.
More than just style, sports performance is at the forefront. According to the company, this always-on resistance training has proven results, suggesting its apparel can lead to an increase in caloric burn by 8% and increasing work required by 6%.
Of note, women’s bike shorts are the cheapest item at $150, while a men’s weighted vest is $450.
But, with high-profile athlete-ambassadors like the NFL’s Julio Jones and Olympic heptathlete Annie Kunz, OMORPHO is taking a page out of WHOOP and Tonal’s playbook, where pricey elite performance tech trickles down to those seeking the high-performance lifestyle.
- lululemon’s newest Lab collection features thermoregulating spacer layers, waterproofing, and airflow-enabling Swift fabric.
- WHOOP (via WHOOP Body), Prevayl (secured $10.3M in June), and Cipher Skin (raised $5M in March) are leading the way on smart sensor clothing.
- Researchers at MIT are pioneering self-ventilating performance fabrics made with reactive bacteria.
As the COVID-19 pandemic altered how we dress, emphasizing a function-over-formality preference that has normalized activewear well beyond the workout, our clothes are expected to do more.
Weight a minute. It’s important to note that OMORPHO is not the first to try to reinvent the weighted vest with lycra. TITIN, maker of weighted compression gear, showed promise in the early 2010s. The startup raised $100K on Kickstarter, then another $1M on Fundable before appearing on Shark Tank. Landing $500K from the show’s investor/personality Daymond John, the company reached a valuation of $2.5M.
But, after liquidity and inventory platforms, public disdain for the product from Mark Cuban, and a series of scandals from the founder, TITIN was no more.
Takeaway: The functional sportswear market is beginning to throw its weight around, but whether OMORPHO becomes novelty or need-to-have for high-performers may depend on how many professional athletes they can turn into evangelists.