Might the VR headset be the subsequent Peloton? – TechCrunch
Funding for virtual reality startups has become sparse in recent years as investors grappled with longer deadlines for mainstream adoption. Meanwhile, connected fitness has exploded and is gaining attention as companies like Peloton saw massive user gains after Mirror recently sold to Lululemon for $ 500 million.
FitXR wants the virtual reality headset to be the next hot seller in the networked fitness area.
TechCrunch announced that the startup developing the popular VR exercise app BoxVR The company just closed a $ 7.5 million Series A financing led by Hiro Capital. The financing was structured with an equity investment of $ 6.3 million and a loan of $ 1.2 million from Innovate UK, a UK government organization. Other investors include BoostVC from Adam Draper, Maveron and TenOneTen Ventures.
FitXRs The BoxVR game has become one of the more popular practice apps for VR devices. The boxing title takes on a Beat Saber-influenced Guitar Hero-esque surface, but focuses on more physically demanding moves like quick uppercuts and jabs. The startup sells the app, which is available on the Oculus Store, PlayStation Store, and Steam, for $ 29.99. Additional content packs are priced at $ 9.99.
Training in VR has slowly become a common use case for headsets thanks to the physical movement required for some of the more hectic titles.
Beat Saber, which Facebook acquired last year for an undisclosed amount, was one of the first titles to take full advantage of the opportunity.
At the beginning of this year, the a16z-supported VR studio Within launched a subscription exercise app called Supernatural. Late last year, SF-based YUR raised $ 1.1 million in pre-seed funding for its VR exercise software.
The virtual reality market had a lot to gain from shelter-in-place, but supply chain issues with the industry’s top backer, Oculus, left VR studios many missed opportunities. All of Oculus’ headsets, including the $ 399 standalone Quest headset, have been sold out or in limited supply since the beginning of the year. This development has had a negative impact on the growth of an industry that is increasingly reliant on Facebook.
VR headsets don’t have heart rate monitors or other fitness tracking features, but VR developers have access to a lot of motion data that tells how much and how fast a user’s headset and controllers are moving.
FitXR uses this data to calculate calorie consumption and allows users to set personal goals for the number of calories they want to burn daily in the app.
At the moment the BoxVR from FitXR is only in the VR headset. However, as the company plans to continue growing its 20-strong team with this funding, management is keen to see the world grow beyond the headset.
“We look at our own uses of the product and don’t think it should be limited to virtual reality,” said Sam Cole, CEO of FitXR said TechCrunch. “But I think the crux of the matter for us is that we believe the most fun way to exercise is with a VR headset. That is why the strong focus of us as a company is on building further in this area and developing innovations. “