True goes up a gear with $100m Zwift investment

True funds Zwift’s technology development alongside KKR, Permira, Amazon Ventures and Specialized as gamified at-home fitness grows exponentially

True will invest $100m in Zwift, the leading online fitness platform for cyclists and runners. New and existing investors were attracted to the $450 million minority investment round led by KKR and True and supported by Permira, Specialized Bicycle Components’ venture capital fund, Zone 5 Ventures, and Highland Europe. The investment accelerates the development of Zwift’s core platform.

Zwift’s technology brings the outdoor experience in, making home exercise fun and social. Cyclists and runners connect, train and compete in realistic 3D worlds. Bike trainers or treadmills pair with the Zwift app allowing users to physically power in-game avatars. Zwift has 386 kilometres of terrain across ten fully immersive virtual worlds. Simulated Alpine climbs; Central Park training sessions with friends; experience the benefit of other riders’ draft.

Zwift has 2.5 million registered accounts in over 190 countries. With Covid-19, people are seeking new ways to keep fit, connected and safe. According to a recent RunRepeat global survey, just 31% of gym members have returned to their gyms since lockdown ended, as people transition to an online, on-demand experience.

Zwift leads the way in physically powered esports too, hosting pro events including the first Virtual Tour de France (broadcast globally in July) and hosts the inaugural UCI Cycling Esports World Championships later this year.

The investment strengthens True’s existing Zwift partnership and reflects its focus on transformative digital-first business models. Emblematic of True’s ever-growing network, Zwift’s global platform provides greater exposure to another True portfolio company, Ribble. The British cycle brand’s annual growth rate is over 100% per year and international sales have accelerated rapidly as the Zwift relationship has deepened.

True’s investment comes from its second private equity fund and a special purpose vehicle supported by existing fund investors and new institutions. True joins the Zwift board following its increased investment.

True’s co-founder, Paul Cocker:

“After movies, gaming, music and books, at-home fitness is the next on-demand digital transformation. Zwift gives people more selection, greater flexibility and better experiences as they train and compete. Our $100m investment reflects the confidence we have in the Zwift team and its exciting technology pipeline.”

Zwift CEO and co-founder, Eric Min:

“This investment accelerates Zwift’s expansion as we enable fun and fitness at home via integrated software and hardware. Our core business investment will focus on user experience, new features, greater content choice and Zwift engineered hardware. True has increased its investment significantly; we appreciate the collaborative style, constructive challenge and energy that Paul and the team bring.”

Zwift sits alongside five other businesses within True’s private equity portfolio – Soulfresh, Hush, Frugi, Ribble Cycles and The Cotswold Company.

16 September 2020