Kate Hudson backed digital fitness company Future raises $75 million in funding
Future, a digital fitness company that pairs users with coaches, is raising funds as the industry realigns itself after years of disruption related to the pandemic.
The $75 million financing round was led by private equity firms SC Holdings and Trustbridge Partners. They’re joined by a variety of celebrity investors, including Fabletics cofounder Kate Hudson, her brother and actor Oliver Hudson, golfer Rory McIlroy, the NFL’s J.J. Watt and Thirty Five Ventures, which is NBA star Kevin Durant’s firm. Endeavor Group Holdings Inc., Harris Blitzer Entertainment and Optum Ventures were involved as well.
Future will use the fresh capital, which brings its total funding to more than $110 million, on advertising and to hire more full-time fitness trainers. Executives say it has one of the largest trainer networks in the U.S., though the company declined to share exact figures. Management is looking to expand into new categories, including stress management and nutrition.
The fitness industry is in the midst of a shakeup as consumer behavior shifts during the COVID-19 pandemic. As gyms faced lockdown mandates in 2020, their members turned to home equipment like connected exercise bikes and treadmills. Others went outside, taking up activities like cycling and trail running. The at-home brands have struggled lately as gym members return to weight rooms and group classes.
“The idea of having one single set routine is a fallacy at this point,” Future Chief Executive Officer Rishi Mandal said in an interview. “There’s dynamism to our life.”
Founded in 2017 by Mandal and former Apple engineer Justin Santamaria, Future pairs members with fitness coaches, who build training regimens and track workouts through an Apple Watch. Trainers stay in close contact with their clients, communicating every day. The service costs $149 per month.
Fitness companies have turned to celebrities to help promote their brands as they vie to gain and retain users. Peloton signed a multiyear deal with singer Beyonce to collaborate on curated themed workouts featuring her songs. Its competitor Echelon brought on musician Pitbull as an investor and added an entire channel devoted to him.
As part of the arrangement with Future, investors Kate and Oliver Hudson will produce and host a podcast featuring the brand, instead of workout videos. Oliver Hudson said they would be one-hour conversations with guests about health, wellness and fitness, allowing them to dive into issues rather than a “quick flash of a celebrity on a screen.”
Kate Hudson has become a prominent figure in the fitness space since co-founding Fabletics, the athletic-wear brand under parent company TechStyle Fashion Group, in 2013. She’s involved in several other businesses, including nutritional powder InBloom and spirits label King St. Vodka.
“I’ve never been very calculated in my decisions. I’ve always been gut-oriented,” Hudson said in an interview. “About 10 years ago, when people were asking me to endorse their products all the time, I always asked myself if they’re gonna pay me this much money to endorse something, what happens if I bet on myself and build something?”
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