Lizzo’s latest business venture has led her to the billion-dollar fitness industry.
In a funding round said to be around $200 million for rowing startup Hydrow, the pop star is listed as an investor, CNBC reports. Singer Justin Timberlake was also included in the round.
As more gyms reopen and people continue to return, Hydrow aims to remain as a top contender for at-home fitness. According to CNBC, partial funding will go toward ensuring the company can “meet the anticipated demand this holiday season.”
“This puts us in the same category as the other leaders in the fitness industry,” Founder and Chief Executive Bruce Smith said. “Until now, we might have been a little bit under the radar because people thought of us as a smaller company. But we’re actually very ambitious.”
Hydrow offers on-demand rowing classes and other fitness classes including pilates and yoga. As the at-home fitness rivalry rises, the startup looks to capitalize on its individuality. It also notes its user base has grown throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Smith, the company’s sales “surged more than 500% in 2020” and in June of this year, “sales rose 300% from the same period in 2020.”
“It was substantially better than expected, and we had ambitious projections—which we beat, which I think is unusual,” Smith told Forbes. “I think the most exciting thing for us is, as we’ve passed the one year mark in the pandemic, the growth rate has continued to accelerate.”
Smith envisions Hydrow’s rowing machines being in hotel gyms, apartment buildings and other business settings — and even internationally — according to CNBC.
“As the economy reopens, that also opens up additional sales for us,” Smith said. “And we’re really determined to be everywhere that our customers are.”
Hydrow was founded in 2017 by Smith — a former USA Rowing national team coach — and backed early by comedian Kevin Hart, who now leads as the company’s new creative director.