True and Highland Europe among investors in Zwift sport training platform
US-based innovation Zwift, which connects users of indoor fitness equipment together in a multiplayer online videogame, has raised $120 million (£95 million) in a Series B fundraising round.
Among those who have staked their claim include London retail and consumer specialist True - as well as alternative investment firm Novator; Causeway Media Partners; and venture capital firm Highland Europe.
Not long before, Zwift made the announcement they would host their very first eSport professional cycling league, launching in January.
They hope the significant investment they have secured will allow them to take the first step into the intensely valuable eSports market, as well as expand into running as well as cycling.
Eric Min, Zwift CEO, said: “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.
“Zwift is going to turn into a battleground for pro cycling teams and deliver a truly gamified experience which will be shared with our subscriber base globally. I personally believe Zwift will play a leading role in the future of professional cycling.”
Highland Europe partner, Tony Zappala, said: “Zwift is a fantastically innovative company and they are certainly leading the way in the indoor training space.
“It’s a highly scalable business and we’ve been impressed with how they have already managed to expand globally; already 70% of current subscribers are from outside the USA.”
True co-founder Paul Cocker added: “This investment allows Zwift to present an even more advanced offering to a growing audience of cyclists and runners in need of new ways to train and remain active indoors. As with the wider retail industry, the fitness industry is evolving rapidly and we firmly believe that Zwift will be at forefront of that evolution.”
Zwift was founded in 2014 to offer cyclists the chance to make solo training more social. They soon introduced competitive races and the ‘Zwift Academy’, and riders have clocked up more than 410 million miles using the app since its creation.
Its founders expect it to be supportive of rather than rivalling competitive cycling, with the goal of becoming a so-called “sport within a sport”.