No Wait Needed: Mirror brings the best of the boutique fitness world straight to you

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Today is an exciting day! TechCrunch Disrupt’s dramatic curtain has officially lifted on Mirror, a cloud-based fitness platform that offers consumers personalized boutique fitness classes across a variety of devices, including the company’s first hardware offering: a full-size, in-home, digitally enabled mirror. We first invested in the company back in November 2016, and again in the company’s Series A earlier this year, alongside our friends at Spark Capital, First Round Capital, Lerer Hippeau, BoxGroup and Brainchild Holdings. The company today announced a new $25 million round of funding led by Spark Capital.

If ever there was a study in product-market fit, Mirror is it. The personal fitness industry has been in a state of constant evolution over the last 50 years, and we’ve come a long way from the calisthenics routines and vibrating belt machines of our forebears. The US fitness market now stands at $25 billion, with an annual growth rate of 6 percent. Health clubs, specifically, which saw mass proliferation starting in the 1980s and helped to build a community-minded approach to fitness, now top 36,000 nationwide.  

But there have been some interesting shifts in the health club scene over the last ten years. Following the recession, many consumers became more price-conscious and cancelled their gym membership, switching instead to lower-cost (and often lower-quality) alternatives. This timing coincided with, and largely drove, the rise of boutique fitness studios, many of which used a more affordable, pay-as-you-go model, without the burden of a monthly membership. The boutique model also appealed to the many consumers who began placing more value on experiences rather than things - a trend that has only escalated with the increasing popularity of Instagram, Facebook and other social platforms that enable consumers to broadcast those experiences to their nearest and dearest.

New York City has been its own hotbed of boutique fitness entrepreneurship over the last decade. SoulCycle, Rumble, Barry’s Bootcamp, ClassPass - these are just a few names that come to mind. These specialty brick-and-mortar studios now make up 35% of the total fitness market, a segment that is projected to grow 100% per year for the next few years. Then, of course, there’s another New York darling: Peloton, which has beautifully demonstrated the desire for and the ability to bring the boutique fitness experience in home. Peloton is now one of the most valuable tech companies in the ecosystem, having recently announced its latest round, which values the company at over $4 billion. Perhaps more importantly, though, Peloton has set an example for emerging fitness platforms by making boutique fitness - which still comes at a fairly steep price tag - much more convenient and accessible to a broader audience.

What’s especially notable about Peloton is that it’s been able to build a $200 million-plus run rate indoor cycling business in four years by layering convenience onto just a very small segment of the fitness market. Given the company’s cult-like following, it may be surprising to learn that spinning makes up just 11% of the total boutique fitness market. The vast majority of the market is actually made up of a variety of floor workouts - think yoga, pilates, cross-training, high-impact cardio, kickboxing - that require little-to-no investment in large equipment, and can be done easily from the comfort of one’s own home. To date, however, the at-home solutions for these workouts have not been able to match the quality of the studio experience. Most have complicated setups, limited variety, uninspiring content and no personalization. So we knew we were onto something when Brynn Putnam first pitched us on her new fitness platform, Mirror.

A Harvard-educated, former professional ballerina-turned-fitness entrepreneur, with her own line of boutique studios in NYC, few individuals know the fitness market as comprehensively as Brynn. Having witnessed firsthand a desire for more convenience, affordability and customization among consumers, Brynn set out to build a workout-agnostic platform that would bring the very best of the boutique fitness world into the home. From the outset, Brynn vowed that she would never sacrifice quality for convenience, and she built her platform to be a totally immersive experience. For one thing, Mirror enables users to stream smart, highly varied content from top instructors, tailored to users’ interests, skill level and fitness goals. Users can see themselves in the vivid display, and interact with their individualized fitness coach throughout their session to optimize their workout in real time. And with embedded social features, Mirror creates a sense of community for those who wish to workout with friends, compete with others or benchmark themselves against like-minded athletes. It’s a far cry from that 7-minute cardio session you struggled through, streamed from an iPhone awkwardly perched at the edge of your couch.

Peloton’s popularity in the spinning world proves that the timing is right for platforms that bring the studio experience in home. With one of the most compelling products on the market, Mirror is here to carry that torch. It is an impressive platform with impeccable timing in an eager and growing market, and we can’t wait to see it take the fitness world by storm. Congratulations to Brynn and Team Mirror!


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