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Exclusive: Ergatta Lands $5M Seed Round To Advance Connected Rower

Ergatta, which raised $5 million in a seed funding round, is taking advantage of the at-home fitness boom with a connected rower product that seems more like e-sports than fitness.

The 1-year-old company, based in Brooklyn, released its rower in March and quickly sold out its inventory, Tom Aulet, co-founder and CEO of Ergatta, told Crunchbase News. Rather than a fitness instructor leading the exercise, it’s competition through gaming that motivates the user during the workout.

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Greycroft led the round, joined by an investor group that includes Techstars, Mark Pincus, Scott Dorsey, Steve Simon, Zach Weinberg, Nat Turner, Chamillionaire, E-40, Joe Zawadzki, Erich Wasserman, Water Rower and Gaingels.

What you should know

The global connected gym equipment market is poised to be worth $5.96 billion by 2025, according to Grand View Research, and is seeing a lot of activity. Last month, we covered Lululemon’s acquisition of Mirror, a startup whose mirror-like response display product streams live and on-demand classes to in-home users.

Ergatta is nearing a positive cash flow, so the new funding will be able to go further, Aulet said. He plans on investing in gaming software and content by adding engineers, as well as building out a marketing team and the startup’s brand.

“In three to five years, we are going to be looking at compelling content, and it will not always be instructors, it will be gaming,” Aulet added. “We are putting together the best mainstream gaming platform, but we are in the first inning of that, so to speak. We want to add features, such as leagues, gaming levels and unlockable content.”

The rower retails for $1,999 and was designed with the home in mind: It is handmade from cherrywood and partly designed by a furniture specialist, Aulet said.

Content is key for Ergatta, and while everyone is copying the Peloton method, which livestreams its classes and creates content around its instructors, Aulet said it is going in the gaming direction.

“It is part video game, part sports,” he said. “You can pick from a library of workouts, delivered in games, so you can compete with yourself and others, and be motivated in a different way.”

Next steps for Ergatta

The company has nine full-time employees and, in order to keep up with demand, Aulet would like to double that over the next year, particularly in engineering, product design, gaming and consumer experience.

In addition to recruiting new employees, the company is laying the foundation to scale the company, as we progress toward the colder months of the year, when connected fitness is most popular, he said.

“Connected home fitness is going to be massive in the U.S.,” Aulet said. “People want to workout in their homes and when it fits into their schedule. Content is the key to winning that space, and our vision is that working out should feel more like playing a sport than taking a class or having a one-on-one with an instructor.”

Photo courtesy of Ergatta
Blogroll illustration: Dom Guzman

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