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Zwift uses gaming technology to bring the outdoor experience indoors, and is designed to make at-home exercise a fun, engaging, and social experience by connecting cyclists and runners in immersive 3D computer-generated worlds. The latest investment, says the company, will be used to accelerate the development of its core software platform and bring Zwift-designed hardware to market, making Zwift a more immersive and seamless experience for users.

Such hardware could include its own indoor bike and other hardware, allowing it to more directly compete with the likes of indoor-fitness company Peloton, which recently went public. Peloton reportedly currently has 1.09 million paying subscribers, while Zwift’s more accessible software-based product is claimed to have seen over 2.5 million accounts registered across 190 countries since its inception.

“With this investment, Zwift is primed to operate in a broader fitness market and deliver on our ambition to provide gamified fitness through integrated software and hardware, to anyone who wants to have fun while getting fit at home,” says Eric Min, Zwift CEO and Co-Founder. “We will be accelerating our investment in the core business, improving the overall product experience, and bringing forward new features, more content, and Zwift designed hardware”

Users of the Zwift platform interact, train, and compete together by wirelessly pairing a smart bike trainer or treadmill equipped with sensors to the Zwift app, to power their in-game avatars. This fully immersive experience, says the company, brings the experience of the outside world into the virtual – simulating the gradients of mountain climbs and the draft of other riders.

The platform offers users the opportunity to explore 240 miles of terrain in 10 virtual worlds where they can also follow structured training plans, enjoy group rides, or take part in any one of the hundreds of daily mass participation events. The social aspect of the platform, says the company, helps deliver the experience of competitive and communal training for users who want to ride or run together and maintain social connections from the comfort of their homes, with the user experience continually improving as the community grows.

The company has also led the way in a new category of physically-powered esports, hosting a number of professional events including the first Virtual Tour de France in July, an event broadcast to over 130 countries worldwide that saw the world’s best male and female professional cyclists compete. Later this year, Zwift will be the host platform for the inaugural UCI Cycling Esports World Championships.

The $450 million minority investment was led by leading global investment firm KKR, accompanied by other new investors Permira, Specialized Bicycle Components’ venture capital fund, Zone 5 Ventures, and the Amazon Alexa Fund and existing investors including True, Highland Europe, Novator, and Causeway Media.

Stephen Shanley, Director at KKR, says, “Zwift is the preeminent digital brand for the global cycling community with a best-in-class product that sits at the intersection of digital health, gaming, and at-home fitness. We see tremendous potential ahead as Zwift invests further in its digital and physical products to enhance the experience for its global community of enthusiastic users. This investment fits perfectly with our growth equity strategy of backing leading tech entrepreneurs as they scale globally.”

KKR’s investment was made through its Next Generation Technology Growth Fund II, a global fund dedicated to growth equity investments in the technology space.

Zwift

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