Fitness tech company WHOOP has found fresh new funding. The maker of the fitness tracker that many pro athletes are wearing has raised $100 million in Series E financing. The company is now valued at $1.2 billion.
Among the professional athletes that invested are NBA star Kevin Durant, NFL stars Larry Fitzgerald and Patrick Mahomes, and PGA champion Justin Thomas, to name a few.
WHOOP became a fixture on the PGA Tour back in June. Pro-golfer Nick Watney has credited the device with detecting that he had COVID-19, the first positive case on the Tour.
The company's main purpose, though, is fitness. It offers coaching to help people improve their health and the strap monitors sleep, recovery, strain, and more.
"In particular, we've seen value in measuring respiratory rate during this unusual time with COVID-19. So we published a lot of research around how respiratory rate is an important metric to understand," Will Ahmed, founder and CEO of WHOOP, told Cheddar on Thursday.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine earlier this year found that after a year of using WHOOP, members experienced longer and more consistent sleep, decreasing resting heart rate, and meaningful behavior changes.
The company strives to help users change everyday aspects of their lives, which can mean smoother travel, fewer injuries, and using less alcohol.
"I think the single biggest thing that WHOOP does that other products don't do is it gives you actionable feedback to improve behavior," Ahmed said, adding, "I think most people intuitively would say that their diet affects their body but they wouldn't necessarily know positively or negatively how so — and that's where WHOOP steps in."
Whoop is not alone in this industry. Amazon is in the health tech space with its Halo, Google with its acquisition of Fitbit, and Apple with its smartwatch. While tech companies have come under scrutiny for how they use personal data, Ahmed stated that WHOOP is focused on member privacy.
"Over time, I expect every big tech company to want to play in this space," Ahmed said. "Our focus on the end-user, our focus on driving behavior change and health benefits, I mean I think that's really the hardest thing to do in this space. That's where we are going to win."