With the bright sunlight of spring comes the looming shadow of winter weight. If you are one of the 80% of Americans who long ago ditched their New Year’s workout resolutions, Wahoo Fitness has the tools to get you back on track, both figuratively and literally, through wearables, fitness equipment, and monitoring apps.
The Atlanta-based tech company isn’t new to the fitness tracking scene. For nearly seven years, Wahoo Fitness has pioneered the market as one of the first to integrate smartphone connected exercise equipment and devices with workout apps. Now they feature a full arsenal of Bluetooth Smart products that meet the needs of any runner, cyclist or fitness enthusiast. These include various bike trainers, heart-rate monitors, and numerous apps for running, workouts, wellness, and cycling.
We caught up with Kevin Abt, Director of International Sales Business Development, and Mike Saturnia, Leader of Sales and Marketing, to get the skinny on Wahoo Fitness and how the company is transforming workout technologies (and bodies).
What is Wahoo Fitness?
Wahoo is a fitness technology company. Our goal is to help people perform better and achieve their fitness goals. We do this by connecting consumers to their workout data. Regardless of where consumers workout at or how they workout, Wahoo captures the data and shares into a common ecosystem and platform. We offer an open solution for consumers that works across all major smart devices and operating systems. Our open solutions also allow consumers the flexibility to use a variety of fitness Apps versus locking them into single solutions.
What core products are you promoting and developing?
There are three business units that Wahoo has right now – Bike, Heart Rate & Motion, and Gym.
Within our Bike business, we have a line of Indoor Smart Bike Trainers called the KICKR; a line of Speed & Cadence Sensors called the RPM, as well as a new GPS Bike Computer that just launched this week called the ELEMNT. The ELEMNT is a powerful GPS bike computer that leverages the Smartphone to enhance and simplify the performance and use of the bike computer. We are very excited about this new product and early indications are that it will do great in the marketplace.
Our Heart Rate & Motion business has a line of wearable heart-rate and motion sensors called the TICKR/TICKRx. We also have a suite of workout apps called RunFit and 7-Minute Workout. We recently updated the 7-Minute Workout and TICKRx for the new Apple TV, making it the first fitness device to connect directly to the new Apple TV. Since its launch in January, the 7-Minute Workout has been in the top 1 or 2 spots for Fitness App downloads.
Our newest business line is Gym. We are announcing at the IHRSA trade show this week a new group fitness software called Studio Connect. This new software connects participants in a spin or cardio class, captures their workout data and uses this data to create exciting and impactful workouts.
How has fitness technology changed and grown?
The fitness technology marketplace has really exploded. The one thing that differentiates Wahoo is our focus on enhancing “workout time.” We do not provide 24/7 tracking of steps or sleep like some companies. We think our focus gives us an advantage and our customers seem to agree since our company and revenue has really grown. We now sell products in 90 different countries; we are in all the Apple stores globally and we have distribution at Amazon, REI, and sell directly to the consumer on wahoofitness.com. Over the past several years, we’ve seen 40-70% growth and anticipate 3-4x growth over the next three-four years.
Wahoo pioneered many fitness technology firsts, what is your history and how does Atlanta weave into your story?
Wahoo started in the fall of 2009 by Chip Hawkins, an Atlanta native. He wanted to get in shape and began running triathlons. During his training, he was frustrated by the complexity associated with capturing and gathering critical workout data (cadence, speed, power, etc). Chip was an early adopter of the iPhone and he decided that the iPhone was a great device for capturing all of his workout data. He ended up creating Wahoo’s first product – the Wahoo Key, an adaptor to the old 30pin iPhone 4 connector. It allowed for traditional fitness sensors to communicate with the phone. Wahoo was the first company that enabled sensors to connect from your bike into your phone.
That beginning led us to develop other products that could connect to the iPhone wirelessly via Bluetooth including the first wireless heart-rate monitor and the first smartphone controlled bike trainer. Sales grew rapidly and we knew that putting the smartphone at the center of your exercise universe was going to be a sustainable strategy. Our strategy remains in place with a focus on innovation, seamless integration and impactful consumer experience.
Since we are a high-growth technology company, finding talented people to join the Wahoo team is critical to our continued success. We spend time and energy to find great talent. Sometimes we hear, “Can I build a career in high-growth technology in Atlanta?” The answer is ‘yes’ at Wahoo. People can have an opportunity to make a big impact in exciting markets. Great talent can find a home here.
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