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27 Dec 2018

Online cycling racing platform Zwift secures US$120m funding
BY Tom Walker

The Zwift app enables users to ride or run with friends from all over the globe

The Zwift app enables users to ride or run with friends from all over the globe

Zwift, a multiplayer online training and racing platform for cyclists and runners, has secured US$120m worth of series B funding.

The company will use the investment in growing its new running discipline and also to expand into esports.

The Zwift app enables users to ride or run with friends from all over the globe, complete structured workouts, and participate in group events in several virtual environments.

Riders from around the globe can train and compete with each other in 3D-generated worlds by connecting their existing devices and hardware – such as cycle trainers, power meters, treadmills and heart rate monitors – wirelessly via open hardware such as ANT+ and BLE.

The Series B round was led by Highland Europe – whose existing investments include fitness equipment provider eGym and file transfer giant WeTransfer. It also included injections from True, the leisure investment firm behind the Ribble cycling brand; Causeway Media, an investor in both traditional sports and esports; and London-based investor Novator.

“Zwift is a fantastically innovative company and they are certainly leading the way in the indoor training space,” says Tony Zappala, partner of Highland Europe.

“It’s a highly scalable business and we’ve been impressed with how they have already managed to expand globally – 70 percent of current subscribers are from outside the US.

"Research points to an audience of 40 million competitive and enthusiast cyclists, and many of those lie in the traditional cycling nations of Central Europe, so in this market alone there is huge growth potential.”

Eric Min, Zwift co-founder and CEO added: “In 2018, more than one third of the Tour de France peloton were Zwifters.

"With that support already in place, we are in the unique position of being able to combine affordable physical endeavour with video gaming technology, ultimately setting the stage for us to become the first true esport of its kind.”

One of the elite riders to back the technology is Mark Cavendish, 2011 World Champion and 30-time Tour de France stage winner.

“Zwift has transformed the way the professional peloton trains.” Cavendish said. “Before Zwift, there is no way I would have chosen to ride an indoor trainer.

"Now though, I genuinely enjoy it - it appeals to the gamer in me. Riders like myself are genuinely fitter now, thanks to Zwift.”

Zwift is currently available on PC, Mac, Apple TV, iOS and Android.




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