- Ergatta found a niche in the market by targeting fitness-minded people who don’t like exercise classes.
- Months of research and $ 5 million in funding were raised prior to launching the product.
- Sales have been booming during the pandemic, but the CEO says the home fitness trend will continue.
- You can find more stories in Insider’s business section.
Ergatta Sales didn’t start until March 2020, but the home fitness startup has already generated monthly sales of $ 2.5 million.
Business was so good that the company sold out its luxury rowers several times during the pandemic.
The waves of gym bans and closings made 2020 the ideal time for Ergatta to start sales, but the stay-at-home fitness trend will continue, Tom Aulet, the brand’s CEO and co-founder, told Insider.
Ergatta was founded in 2018, long before anyone knew a pandemic was going to shake up the fitness industry. Two of the founders were marketers, Aulet told Insider, and they were outsiders in the fitness industry. This could have been critical to success, said Aulet.
Because of their background in marketing, they focused from the start on understanding the influences and resources that people consult when purchasing fitness equipment. Because rowing machines are such a large investment – Ergatta’s model costs $ 2,200 – customers do a lot of research before deciding to buy, Aulet explained.
As a result, Ergatta chose to focus on searchable channels that impact lesser funnel consideration, like YouTube reviews, blogs, and press coverage, rather than paid advertising, Aulet said.
“This is an expensive product that people have never heard of. It goes in your home, probably your living room or bedroom,” he said. “You’re not going to buy it after seeing an Instagram ad.”
The company received $ 5 million from two rounds. The largest donors are New York-based venture capital Greycroft, but it has received pre-seed capital from Rhode Island angel investors such as Mark Pincus, Scott Dorsey and WaterRower with whom it has partnered. WaterRower now manufactures Ergatta’s machines.
Ergatta is just a player in a booming business. The fitness equipment industry was rated with $ 11.5 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $ 15.2 billion by 2027.
Peloton, which makes bicycles and treadmills, largely dominated the connected fitness space during the pandemic. It’s not a rower yet, but other companies like Hydrow, CityRow, Nautilus, and NordicTrack all do.
Michael Farello, Managing Partner at L Catterton, said insider in July this row was “the fastest growing modality in fitness”.
Ergatta found a niche in the market. About half of the people don’t like fitness classes, research found, so the company picked one competitive, gamified alternative to target this currently underserved market. The rower can compete against the machine not only because of his targeted plans and interval training, but also allows you to compete against other Ergatta users in simulated races.
Because of this, Ergatta’s customer base is not focused on any particular demographic. The product instead attracts a certain personality type, Aulet said. Most consumers tend to be competitive and introverted, and it skews men. Its users include many engineers, teachers, doctors, firefighters, lawyers and financiers, he said.
WaterRower produces Ergatta’s rowing machines in Rhode Island from sustainably harvested cherry wood. Aulet said the company is the only major networked fitness brand manufacturing in the United States. This is a huge competitive advantage in the current environment, he said: Most other fitness companies make their hardware in China and Logistics were under pressure during the pandemic.
In addition to performance, design is an important part of Ergatta rowers.
“It’s really easy to sell when something is beautiful,” said Aulet.
The machine can fit in the space of a bar stool when not in use, Ergatta says, and can be easily rolled into a new space. The rowers have a five-year warranty – but they’re built to last, the company says.
Customers who already own a WaterRower can pay to upgrade their existing rowing machine with Ergatta technology. For $ 550Ergatta sells its hardware add-ons for WaterRower S4 owners to turn their machine into a connected fitness machine.
Although customers need the hardware to be able to use Ergatta, the startup essentially describes itself as a software company. The company sells its software on a subscription model where customers pay $ 29 each month. The company releases new software every week or two with the input of customer feedback, which means that the user experience is constantly improving and evolving.
And that approach seems to be working. Ergatta’s users exercise an average of 12 times a month, and 99.5% of users stay with Ergatta every month, Aulet told Insider.
The company could have sold more rowers that it hadn’t occasionally sold out, he added.
Ergatta is expanding production to meet increasing demand and is also increasing its workforce. The company currently employs 18 full-time employees and has seven vacancies.
The home fitness boom is here to stay, Aulet said.
Two-thirds of Americans prefer to exercise at home, and 59% don’t expect to hit the gym again after the pandemic, he said.
“If you can essentially deliver the same or a better experience in a much more convenient way, that will always prevail.”