Virtual Fitness Training App Playbook Raises $9.3M Amid Industry Boom

Ellen Glover
October 15, 2020
NYC-based at-home fitness app raised $9.3M Series A amid industry boom
Image: Playbook / Facebook

Playbook, a fitness app that connects users directly with trainers, announced this week it closed on a $9.3 million Series A funding round, as reported by TechCrunch.

Investors include E.ventures, Abstract Algae, Michael Ovitz, Porsche Ventures and FJ Labs. To date, the NYC-based company has raised a total of more than $12 million.

Claiming to be a “tech-driven talent agency,” Playbook puts all aspects of a business — content creation, distribution, audience building and revenue generation — directly in each fitness trainer’s hands. The company pays those who bring in their own audience an 80 percent cut of the profits. If users find the trainer through the app instead, the trainer gets paid based on the seconds watched.

Playbook claims some of its trainers make as much as $1 million a year. This extra revenue stream could be especially important amid the pandemic, since in-person personal fitness training and the overall fitness industry has been turned upside down.

Meanwhile, for either $15 a month or $99 a year, end users get access to classes ranging from yoga to CrossFit taught by more than 150 professional trainers. Top instructors include Don Saladino, trainer to Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively; Magnus Lygdback, trainer to Ben Affleck and Dua Lipa; and other Instagram influencers like Kenzie Morley and Nicole Monroe. Users can also direct message trainers they like for more tips and to make requests for future classes.

Playbook is among many startups in this industry seeing success amid the pandemic. Peloton, for instance, has been doing remarkably well — so much so that it may release a new, cheaper bike and treadmill soon. Another at-home fitness company Mirror was acquired by retailer Lululemon for $500 million, and LA-based Zwift raised a massive $450 million round, bringing its total valuation to more than $1 billion.

Looking ahead, Playbook says it is always looking to add more instructors and classes. Eventually, Porsche Ventures partner Stephan Baral said in a recent LinkedIn post that the company aims to be the “Patreon of fitness content.”

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