Ergatta Raises $30M Series A to Gamify Home Fitness, Plans to Double Team

“This company is poised for tremendous growth,” says Ergatta co-founder and CEO Tom Aulet. “This is a new category that we’ve created, and this funding is validation of that category.”

Written by Ellen Glover
Published on Apr. 28, 2021
Ergatta Raises $30M Series A to Gamify Home Fitness, Plans to Double Team
NYC-based Ergatta raised a $30M Series A, plans to double team
Photo: Ergatta

2020 was the year of home fitness. With gyms closed or severely restricted for months at a time, most people had nowhere to go but home to exercise, which led to a massive boom for home fitness technology that is still going strong into 2021.

Although it looks like we may be nearing the end of the COVID-19 pandemic (at least in the United States), many investors see home fitness sticking around for good, and they are betting on companies beyond just the major players in the industry like Peloton, Tonal and Mirror.

The latest to garner investor attention is Ergatta, an NYC-based startup looking to become a leader in the burgeoning “gamified fitness” space. The company announced Wednesday it closed on a $30 million Series A led by Advance Venture Partners, with participation from familiar names like Greycroft and Gaingels.

Unlike Peloton or Mirror, Ergatta does not stream live workouts. Instead, its model is centered around gamified, connected workouts. The company’s primary hardware is a rowing machine that is built out of cherry wood and designed to fit “seamlessly” into users’ living rooms. Attached to the machine is a screen, which can be used to track progress and provide real-time performance feedback.

“The feeling that we’re trying to create is that of playing a sport,” Ergatta’s co-founder and CEO Tom Aulet told Built In. “Every workout is a game.”

One of these games is a virtual race, where the user goes head to head with eight other users of similar ability. These races vary in length and difficulty, depending on if the user wants to focus more on endurance or speed. Like a video game, users can watch the race as it progresses on the screen.

All the other games are single player, where the user does various interval workouts with warm-up periods, sprints and other intermediate effort periods. This is all tracked and measured on the screen as personalized targets, depending on what the individual is capable of doing and how much they want to progress. When the user meets their goals, they collect digital tokens.

These games are all tied together with what Aulet calls the “meta game.”

“There’s leagues, and community ranking boards, and workout programs where you sign up to do a 10k and so on,” Aulet said. “So there’s a series of mechanics and a structure to keep you coming back outside of the specific workouts that you choose to do.”

Ergatta raised $30M Series A
Photo: Ergatta
NYC-based Ergatta raised $30M Series A
Photo: Ergatta
NYC-based Ergatta raised $30M Series A
Photo: Ergatta

Ergatta is built for people who don’t necessarily get motivated by instructors telling them what to do or shouting encouragement — a staple of other home fitness tech platforms. Instead, the target Ergatta user is one who is motivated by setting personal goals, reaching high scores and competing against others. It’s fitness for gamers.

And this model appears to be paying off. Since its launch in March of 2020, Ergatta says it has experienced “exponential growth.” The company raised a $5 million seed round in July and, since then, has gone from a $0 to a $35 million annual run rate in just eight months. Aulet says a lot of this immediate growth can be attributed to the pandemic, but it also has to do with the rower’s “beautiful” and “striking” design, as well as its target audience.

“There is an untapped market out there that just doesn’t want a fitness class, and no one’s listening to them or designing something for them,” Aulet said. “Combining interactive content with cardio equipment clearly works. It is bringing people into the fold that have never had fitness routines and providing them with the right level of convenience and the right kind of emotional experience to really form a lasting habit for the first time.”

“Right now, we’re doing it with thousands,” Aulet continued. “The most exciting thing about this business is doing it for millions.”

To accomplish this, Ergatta will use this fresh funding to invest in R&D, specifically on the software and digital content side. This means creating new games, better animation, more developed social features and companion apps, more live events, and analytics tools to improve form. The company will increase its marketing efforts as well.

Aulet also says Ergatta will likely sell tens or even hundreds of thousands of its machines in the next year, so this money will help the company scale across the board, from supply chain to manufacturing to customer support. This also means growing the team. Ergatta currently has 22 employees, and Aulet says the company will “certainly double and perhaps triple” its headcount in the next year or so.

“This company is poised for tremendous growth. We will grow 5x or more, from a revenue standpoint, this year,” Aulet said. “This is a new category that we’ve created, and this funding is validation of that category.”

The company’s rowers cost $2,199, and access to the platform via a membership costs $29 per month or $290 for a full year.

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