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Peloton May Have a Challenger in Start-Up Hydrow

By Rhian Hunt – Updated Jun 17, 2020 at 2:36PM

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At-home interactive exercise biking may soon go head-to-head with at-home rowing.

Currently the market leader in online-streaming at-home membership fitness programs, Peloton Interactive (PTON -14.44%) may soon have a challenger in the shape of start-up rowing machine company Hydrow. The newcomer has rapidly secured funding from several different sources and now has more than $50 million in backing, some of it from firms with significant weight in the private equity sector.

Hydrow's product is a high-tech rowing machine that costs more than $2,000, paired with streaming classes. The classes, which include both live streaming and an archive of on-demand recorded sessions, feature athletes filming actual rowing on rivers in Miami, London, Boston, San Francisco, and other iconic locations.

A woman using a rowing machine.

Image source: Getty Images.

The company's CEO, Bruce Smith, says its mission is "bringing the soul enriching sport of rowing to homes around the world." He also states the "accelerated demand we've seen in recent months has further validated the positive trend toward connected fitness and the increasing adoption of rowing," an assertion backed up by a 400% increase in sales during the pandemic.

Most recently, Hydrow received $25 million in funding from a private equity firm backed by international fashion titan LVMH Moet Hennessy, L Catterton. L Catterton managing partner Michael Farello remarks, "Since our first investment in February 2019, we've seen incredible growth as Hydrow resonates with consumers."

L Catterton isn't the only significant investor in the start-up. RX3 Ventures, an equity firm partly founded by Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers, also put capital into the new enterprise. Hydrow has attracted approximately $52 million in funding so far. An uphill battle remains, however, to establish a foothold in the niche currently dominated by Peloton, which continues to soar to fresh all-time share value highs. 

Rhian Hunt has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Peloton Interactive. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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