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Zwift welcomes $450m in new investment – is a Zwift indoor trainer on the way?

Backers include Specialized as companies launch strategic partnership – Zwift own brand training bike reported to be part of future plans

Zwift, the virtual fitness platform for cyclists and runners, has announced today that it has raised $450 million in minority investment led by private equity giant KKR, with other investors including Specialized Bicycle Components’ venture capital fund, the Amazon Alexa Fund, and the Finnish video games developer behind titles such as Clash of Clans.

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The company’s profile received a huge boost earlier this year as pro cyclists unable to train or compete on the road took to the online platform for events including the Virtual Tour de France, and later this year Zwift will be the host platform for the inaugural UCI Cycling Esports World Championships.

It says it will use the money to speed up the development of its core software platform, and it is reported that the investment will also be used to bring a Zwift-branded indoor bike to market.

Zwift CEO and co-founder Eric Min said: “With this investment, Zwift is primed to operate in a broader fitness market and deliver on our ambition to provide gamified fitness through integrated software and hardware, to anyone who wants to have fun while getting fit at home.

“We will be accelerating our investment in the core business, improving the overall product experience, and bringing forward new features, more content and Zwift designed hardware, all with the support of KKR and our new outside investors who can help drive our growth.”

He continued: “To make this happen, we will be increasing headcount within our core product teams, investing in the very best people.

“We begin by welcoming Ilkka Paananen to Zwift both as an investor and independent board member.”

A Zwift set-up for every budget

Paananen, who is CEO of  co-founder of Finland-based video games developer, Supercell, said: “Zwift is uniquely positioned to lead the way and grow a new global fitness community, combining video gaming and sports, two of my great passions.

“I have been incredibly impressed by Eric’s vision and ambition, and his commitment to building a world-class product for the community. There are many exciting growth opportunities for Zwift and I’m looking forward to being a part of this journey.”

Meanwhile, as well as investing in Zwift, Specialized has also entered into a strategic partnership with the virtual cycling platform.

Specialized’s leader of product and innovation, Chris Yu, said: “Our goal is to pedal the planet forward by getting more riders riding, and we are beyond excited at the opportunity to partner with Zwift to break down the barriers to riding indoors on the world’s most engaging platform.”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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