Zwift, the virtual fitness platform for cyclists and runners, has announced today that it has raised $450 million in minority investment led by private equity giant KKR, with other investors including Specialized Bicycle Components’ venture capital fund, the Amazon Alexa Fund, and the Finnish video games developer behind titles such as Clash of Clans.
The company’s profile received a huge boost earlier this year as pro cyclists unable to train or compete on the road took to the online platform for events including the Virtual Tour de France, and later this year Zwift will be the host platform for the inaugural UCI Cycling Esports World Championships.
It says it will use the money to speed up the development of its core software platform, and it is reported that the investment will also be used to bring a Zwift-branded indoor bike to market.
Zwift CEO and co-founder Eric Min said: “With this investment, Zwift is primed to operate in a broader fitness market and deliver on our ambition to provide gamified fitness through integrated software and hardware, to anyone who wants to have fun while getting fit at home.
“We will be accelerating our investment in the core business, improving the overall product experience, and bringing forward new features, more content and Zwift designed hardware, all with the support of KKR and our new outside investors who can help drive our growth.”
He continued: “To make this happen, we will be increasing headcount within our core product teams, investing in the very best people.
“We begin by welcoming Ilkka Paananen to Zwift both as an investor and independent board member.”
Paananen, who is CEO of co-founder of Finland-based video games developer, Supercell, said: “Zwift is uniquely positioned to lead the way and grow a new global fitness community, combining video gaming and sports, two of my great passions.
“I have been incredibly impressed by Eric’s vision and ambition, and his commitment to building a world-class product for the community. There are many exciting growth opportunities for Zwift and I’m looking forward to being a part of this journey.”
Meanwhile, as well as investing in Zwift, Specialized has also entered into a strategic partnership with the virtual cycling platform.
Specialized’s leader of product and innovation, Chris Yu, said: “Our goal is to pedal the planet forward by getting more riders riding, and we are beyond excited at the opportunity to partner with Zwift to break down the barriers to riding indoors on the world’s most engaging platform.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.