Online global fitness platform Zwift has raised $450m (£350m/€380m) of fresh investment in a series C fundraising round led by American global investment firm KKR.
The Amazon Alexa Fund – which provides up to $200m in venture capital funding to fuel voice technology innovation – was also among the new investors, which also included Permira, Specialized Bicycle Components’ venture capital fund and Zone 5 Ventures.
Existing Zwift backers True, Highland Europe, Novator and Finnish video game company Supercell all increased their investments into the company. The latter’s founder, Ilkka Paananen, is set to become an independent board member of Zwift.
The capital injection places an overall valuation of $1bn on the company, according to a report from Bloomberg.
As it stands, Zwift’s offering is entirely digital, with users providing their own stationary bikes or treadmills and connecting them to Zwift’s app in order to compete with other users around the world. The new investment will allow it to start developing its own hardware, the company said, which is likely to include a Zwift bike.
The investment would also be used to “accelerate the development of Zwift’s core software platform”, said the company in a statement.
Zwift’s popularity, as well as its valuation, has skyrocketed during 2020 thanks to the lockdown conditions imposed on much of the world during the Covid-19 pandemic, leading to increasing numbers of people seeking innovative ways to compete from home.
The company also partnered with the Amaury Sports Organisation in June to offer a virtual version of the Tour de France, with professional races taking place using Zwift’s platforms in both men’s and women’s classifications. The UCI has also launched a digital racing series using Zwift, while it teamed up with Global Cycling Network and Eurosport to create the mass participation Tour for All during lockdown.