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Peloton is having a moment. So are its competitors

June 18, 2020, 2:10 PM UTC

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Despite its hefty sticker price, Peloton’s near-religious following has only multiplied during a pandemic that has shuttered workout classes and bankrupt gyms

Now hopeful competitors are cycling in—and could veer into Peloton’s dollars.

Tempo, an at-home weights training startup backed by Founders Fund, DCM, and Khosla Ventures, is raising some $60 million in funding valuing the company at roughly $200 million to $300 million, sources tell Term Sheet. The deal, said to be led by two investors, however, has yet to close.

Weights alone are not an expensive buy: Pop on Amazon and a pair of 20-pound rubber dumbbells currently costs about $60. But Tempo is pitching consumers on a more gym-like experience—just at home: Think on-demand classes playing on a large screen and motion sensors that determine whether an exercise is correctly executed. For that, Tempo’s system retails in the quadruple digits. While Peloton’s stationary bike sells for about $2,245 Tempo’s system costs $1,995.

Consumers are showing willingness to splurge on larger fitness-related buys as the coronavirus rages on. Hydrow, an at-home rowing startup that retails its machines at $2,199, says sales at the company have risen 400% in April compared to January. The company recently raised $25 million in funding with L Catterton leading the round. Hydrow is most certainly not a biking machine, but its CEO told Term Sheet that it is going straight up against Peloton. 

“I think there will be four or five winners,” said Hydrow CEO Bruce Smith of the at-home fitness space. “We think about it like Microsoft and Apple—or Adidas and Nike.”

Indeed with a price of about $2,199 on Hydrow, and Peloton’s apparently fastest growing demographic earning below $75,000 per household, one machine per house may perhaps become the de facto. 

So what is Peloton’s move? While best known for its stationary bikes, the company has also moved into selling treadmills and standalone classes that don’t require equipment. Peloton is also not resting on its laurels when it comes to competitors. It’s issued lawsuits against what it considers biking copycats from Echelon and Flywheel. One source tells Term Sheet that Peloton approached Tempo in recent months, voicing interest in acquiring the company. Tempo, though, the source said, was not interested in selling. But the workout world has seen fads come and go (where were HIIT classes 10 years ago?)—so is an acquisition next somewhere?

“We don’t comment on rumors or speculation and we have no acquisitions to announce,” a Peloton spokesperson told Term Sheet. Tempo did not respond to requests for comment. 

When asked, Smith said that Hydrow too has fielded inbound inquiries about an acquisition, though he declined to name specific parties.

Lucinda Shen
Twitter: @shenlucinda


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