Quell’s playful home fitness tech nets $10 million – TechCrunch

Quell’s playful home fitness tech nets $10 million – TechCrunch

Quell's playful home fitness tech nets $10 million – TechCrunch

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Home fitness had a big moment at the start of the pandemic – and understandably so. People were stuck at home, gyms were closed, and workout options suddenly seemed to shrink dramatically. As with the teleconferencing revolution, many startups were waiting in the wings to seize the sudden opportunity.


As expected, when the world returned to a state of relative normality, interest in some offers dwindled. I certainly wouldn’t suggest that gym reopenings were the sole source of Peloton’s struggles, but an overcommitment to potential growth quickly caught up with the business as reality set in.

But just like teleconferencing companies, the swing of the pendulum certainly doesn’t mean new technology is disappearing altogether – although the herd will almost certainly dwindle. Today, London-based Quell announced a $10 million Series A led by Tencent and featuring Khosla Ventures, Heartcore Capital, Social Impact Capital and Naval Ravikant.

“The COVID pandemic has forced many gyms around the world to close, giving the digital fitness industry an incredible tailwind that certainly benefited Quell at first,” co-founder and CEO Cameron Brookhouse told TechCrunch. “As restrictions have been lifted, gyms have rebounded better and faster than expected, with some chains reporting that their membership numbers have returned to pre-pandemic levels.” Despite this, we have not seen a significant impact on investor appetite in the sector. Investors we spoke to share our view that gyms are an unattractive “default” exercise option for most people; people go to the gym because there is no more enjoyable option with the same efficiency and fewer barriers to entry.

The shift in interest in fitness, of course, is consistent with the macroeconomic downturn which has impacted investment across the board.

“The current economic climate has had a significant effect on venture capital risk appetite, driving a sharp correction from the inflated valuations of 2021 and creating a much more competitive growth environment for startups. There is a heavy focus on numbers and a greater expectation of PMF evidence, even in the early rounds,” says Brookhouse. “We are starting to see signs of loosening a little earlier than many analysts had expected, with several of the VCs we spoke with gaining confidence as they observe the resilience of private markets and see LPs continue to invest in new funds.”

Quell takes a playful approach to the market, with resistance bands designed for a more active play/workout experience. The system launched with the fighting game, Shardfall, with more titles on the road. The funding will go, in part, to expanding the software, as well as increasing the company’s workforce.

“We will grow our team from 30 to over 50, focusing this expansion on core game and platform development,” says Brookhouse. “Series A will allow us to rapidly develop our live service launch game, Shardfall, as well as develop our next two games.”

The system is currently up for pre-order for $249, with plans to ship this year. The company doesn’t currently offer a subscription service, but let’s say it’s exploring the avenue. Virtual reality is also a possibility, but there are currently no specific plans to add this feature.

“VR has opened the door to fantastic new immersive experiences in the gaming industry, but it currently suffers from significant drawbacks in a fitness context,” Brookhouse adds. “Many people find the headsets too heavy and sweaty for working out or suffer from motion sickness during high-intensity games. Virtual reality also lacks real resistance, which limits the effectiveness of many types of training. »


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