WHOOP raises another $200M for the athlete-focused fitness wearable: What This Means For The Industry & You
When you think of fitness trackers, you probably think of fitbit and apple watch, maybe Garmin—not WHOOP. It’s far from a household name, but since its 2012 inception, it’s had no trouble attracting converts or venture capital. In 2019, the Boston-based company raised $55 million.
Now it’s backed with a $200 million raise.
The Series F round brings Whoop’s total funding to nearly $405 million—a pretty massive investment for a company of its size. The round, led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2, puts the valuation at a jaw-dropping $3.6 billion valuation.
To put it simply, if you haven’t heard of WHOOP yet—you’re about to.
WHOOP is a fitness wearable that tracks your workouts, sleep, recovery and gives you advice on how to improve. WHOOP's fitness tracking strap is part of a membership that constantly tracks a wearer's activity and other physiological data. The membership also includes coaching and feedback. Whoop is designed specifically to help you improve your exercise performance, recover better, get more sleep and feel empowered about your health and fitness habits.
How Does WHOOP Work?
Whoop relies on HRV, heart rate and other metrics to assess sleep quality, workout strain and recovery, using LEDs and photoplethysmography to get those measurements. The wearable does not have a display because it's not designed to be used as a regular watch or as an extension of your phone by giving you notifications, instead it feeds data into their app, which offers coaching, fitness tracking, and splits its data into sleep, strain, and recovery.
What Does This Valuation Mean?
In a statement, WHOOP founder, Will Ahmed, said it will use the new funding to invest in enhancements across its suite of product, software, and analytics, Invest in research and development to build the future of wearable technology, Enter new markets through strategic international expansion, and Play a larger role in professional sports and extend WHOOP Live to a greater audience, taking fan and athlete engagement to a new level through biometric data visualization.
WHOOP Live has already enabled fans to experience sports in a new way. For example, fans were able to see Nelly Korda’s heart rate as she putted to win the Women’s PGA Championship, Daniel Suarez’ strain score as he raced at the Daytona International Speedway, and Sergio Higuita’s recovery score during the Tour de France.
What Does This Mean For The Future?
The explosion of wearable fitness technology is like nothing we’ve ever seen as far as product explosions go. New fitness trackers are not only popular but they’re building communities around their devices. In fact 90% of people who try a wearable stay committed to the first brand they’ve tried.
Current wearables like WHOOP and fitbit are planning to be big players in the overall health of their users—even being able to alert their users of potential sicknesses.
As a result of the COVID pandemic, WHOOP has grown their membership over 5 times. Their annual revenue grew over 380% in a 12 month period. According to Will Ahmed, this move to wearables is ushering in a big opportunity to help consumers understand their bodies and live better lives.
Consumers are suddenly more interested in their quality of sleep, fitness, and overall health, than they were four years ago and WHOOP plans to help those consumers meet all their goals. The future of wearables, especially HRV based ones like WHOOP, is breaking a connection into healthcare and overall health management. Because WHOOP monitors respiratory rate 24/7, they were able to help users detect early signs of COVID at the start of the pandemic. And that’s only the first for them and others in their field.
Continuous monitoring of the human body has shown massive health outcome potential. The key to medicine and healthcare is shifting costs from being corrective to being preventative. Preventative costs are much, much lower than corrective costs. As we’re able to identify trends sooner, the easier it is to make the entire system more effective.