Thanks to a new injection of venture capital, Tempo is on the Heels of Tonal in the race to create a Peloton for strength training.
SoftBank, a Japanese multinational conglomerate with a specialty in technology firms, has lead an investment round of $220 million in Tempo, a high-tech, interactive home weight training system.
A freestanding triangle-shaped cabinet with a screen, Tempo weight training system uses infrared sensors to create a 3D model of the user’s body and guides them through a series of weight training workouts, in addition to other interactive features. Launched six years ago, it is one of several once-futuristic at-home exercise systems that has benefitted from routines changes stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. The company said sales have increased tenfold in the last year.
This series C round of funding is a major cash injection for Tempo weight training system, increasing its funding to date to $300 million. A majority of the investors — including DCM, General Catalyst, Norwest Venture Partners, and Bling Capital — previously invested in Tempo, which is still run by founders Joshua Augustin and Moawia Eldeeb.
Tempo weight training machines sell for $2,500 to $4,000, plus a $39 subscription for instruction videos and live classes. The weights, along with dumbbell bars and a press bar, are included. As its cash reserves increased, this year Tempo has invested in new equipment and accessories, yoga and cardio classes for its streaming services, and more personalized features to its user interface.
Tempo is one of a few products to try to recreate the Peloton model of an internet-enabled home workout system with a livestreaming class aspect, but with weight training. Tonal, which uses resistance bands, is worth about $1.6 billion. Another device, the live-streaming Mirror, was purchased by Lululemon last summer for $500 million in a bid to stay in well-heeled yogis’ routines as the pandemic shuttered classes.
The major increase in funding and renewed commitment from previous investors will help Tempo (pardon the pun) keep pace with Tonal, which is hoping to soon make an IPO and cement a place at the top of home workout systems. Tempo weight training home gym announced it is going to be for sale at Best Buy locations this fall, which would match the retail presence of Tonal, after its expansion into Nordstrom stores.
Even more significantly, the new investment shows that venture capitalists are still interested in high-tech home workout systems with price tags in the thousands, even as increasing numbers of people are being vaccinated and forecasts point to returns to normal routines, like going to gyms and fitness studios.
This story has been updated to reflect new announcements from Tempo.
Nick Keppler is a freelance journalist, writer and editor. He enjoys writing the difficult stories, the ones that make him pore over studies, talk about subjects that make people uncomfortable, and explain concepts that have taken years to develop. Nick has written extensively about psychology, healthcare, and public policy for national publications and for those locally- based in Pittsburgh. In addition to Athletech News, Nick has written for The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Vice, Slate, Reuters, CityLab, Men’s Health, The Gizmodo Media Group, The Financial Times, Mental Floss, The Village Voice and AlterNet. His journalistic heroes include Jon Ronson, Jon Krakauer and Norah Vincent.