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08 Sep 2020
Wattbike secures £11.5m investment following lockdown sales boom
By Tom Walker
Wattbike secures £11.5m investment following lockdown sales boom
Although initially focusing on commercial sales to gyms and sports clubs, Wattbike’s direct-to-consumer offering has seen rapid growth over the last few years
Photo: Wattbike
Wattbike has secured £11.5m worth of new funding from Piper, a specialist investor in branded consumer businesses.

The indoor bike specialist said the investment will help it drive growth in the UK and further penetrate the US and Asian markets, as it looks to capitalise on the global increase in demand for connected, at-home fitness solutions.

Founded in 2007 by former world champion rower, Ian Wilson – who worked in collaboration with British Cycling – Wattbike initially focused mainly on commercial sales to gyms and sports clubs.

The firm's direct-to-consumer offering also seen rapid growth over the last few years.

According to CEO Rich Baker, the company has experienced particularly strong growth in recent months, with sales orders in April – the month after lockdown – increasing by 192 per cent compared to 2019. As a result, the business is forecasting total sales in excess of £21m for 2020.

Dan Stern, Piper’s investment director who led the deal, said: "We're backing the Wattbike team for the next stage of growth.

"Indoor fitness training – alongside the rise in consumers cycling and participating in triathlons – make this a very attractive market sector and Wattbike is in a league of its own when it comes to high-performance indoor bikes.

"We’re looking forward to working with Rich and the team over the coming years."

Baker added: "We are confident Piper's investment and expertise will help us realise our global ambitions for the Wattbike brand."

The firm has invested significantly in developing a range of products and recently launched three new smart bikes – the Nucleus and Atom X for the B2B market and the Atom Next Generation, the latest Wattbike model for the consumer market.

Alongside its new launches, Wattbike has invested heavily in developing supporting technology, such as the Wattbike Hub app, which enables riders to collect detailed data for training and performance improvement.

The bike is also software agnostic, allowing riders to race and train with friends in a virtual world, by connecting to other providers, such as Zwift.

Wattbike founder Ian Wilson stepped down as CEO in 2018 but remains a non-executive director and shareholder.

Piper has a range of investments in the leisure sector, including boutique operator, Frame, spa and beauty brand, Neom and restaurant brands, Turtle Bay and Hickory's Smokehouse.

It has previously backed companies such as Maximuscle, Pitcher & Piano and the Loungers casual dining brand.

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