Wahoo Fitness has been a worldwide leader in the smart trainer industry since the introduction of their first KICKR in 2012. And even though their latest KICKR leads the pack in terms of features, the post-Covid years have been challenging for the cycling industry overall, and for Wahoo in particular.
The situation became downright dire a few months ago, when (according to a brilliant article by DC Rainmaker) “15 different banks had called the debt, and took over the business.” Since then, Wahoo has been in a sort of holding pattern. They ceased marketing, most sponsorships, and limited non-critical business functions, including product development, all in an attempt to save money.
But there’s good news!
Wahoo announced this week that founder Chip Hawkins, along with “new and current investors”, has “fully recapitalized its business.” Or to put it more simply: Chip and additional investors have bought back Wahoo from the banks and put it on solid financial footing.
According to DC Rainmaker, the additional investment partners are:
- Rhone Group
- David Wichmann of Jory Capital & Human Powered Health
- RZC Investments
Wahoo’s press release says these are “new and current investors with substantial experience in supporting diverse connected fitness and endurance athlete platform businesses.”
Here’s more from the press release:
Confidential terms of the arrangements eliminate all debt and provide significant cash liquidity designed to extend the company’s prominence in advancing innovation in the global smart fitness and training category.
Wahoo Founder, Chip Hawkins commented, “The successful recapitalization of the business provides the flexibility we were seeking as a management team to allow for investment in innovation and growth from the company’s substantial base and category leadership position, by diversifying the breadth of its offerings to better support athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Wahoo’s management team is energized by a renewed focus on delighting its customers and continuing Wahoo’s mission of building a better athlete in all of us.”
Mike Saturnia, Wahoo CEO stated, “The investment from both new and existing investors is a clear sign of confidence in the strength of Wahoo- specifically our team, brand, strategy, and powerful ecosystem of innovative products, software, and services. This could not have happened without months of hard work and support from our channel partners. We want to thank our supply chain and retail and distribution partners for their trust and confidence as we navigated to a successful conclusion to this process.”
The terms of this transaction are confidential.
Questions or Comments?
Be sure to read DC Rainmakers much more thorough post on this topic for a clearer picture of what led up to this week’s announcement.
Got questions or comments? Post below!
Great news! Something tells me we won’t see a Rollr V2. I do hope they keep developing the Speedplay products though.
Since I just took advantage of the fire sales to get a Kickr 5, this is very good news 🙂
Happy for Wahoo. Now, if only Saris would bring in some investment for trainer & related product innovation.
I noticed with update 1.39 my sound goes in and out? Then I updated to 1.40 and the sound is gone? Any help here?
Great news for RGT fans. Competition is good for Zwift: for example, I think some of the developments in Zwift pack dynamics have precedence in RGT, as do features in the Windows Zwift extension like route profile and drafting %.
There is a Zwift drafting % available now?? How/where?
Important context in the comments of the DC rain maker article https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2023/05/wahoo-fitness-founder-buys-company-back-from-banks.html#comment-4260907
Basically, Chip is right back to where he started but he is now about $100m richer. Pretty nice for him eh? Who paid the price of that $100m though?
slightly off topic: Does anyone know how to post a feature request for Bolt / Roam? I would like auto-dismiss for custom alerts. With Gravel, MTB its not always a good idea to take your hands off the bars….. :O/