Figures from International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) show that the health club industry generates around $83 billion in revenue worldwide each year, with 200,000 fitness centers and gyms all over.
One of the newest players in the space is the New York-based company Mirror, who wants to “revolutionize in-home workouts,” and has raised $13 million thanks to Spark Capital, Lerer Hippeau, First Round Capital, Primary Venture Partners, BoxGroup, and Brainchild Holdings.
Mirror remains in stealth mode, with a launch expected sometime in spring, however it is not known if the company wants to deliver the “boutique studio experience” to consumer homes, offering access to both live and on-demand classes for cardio, yoga, strength training, and more workouts. But this program will be more than an app for your phone, tablet or TV. The setup includes a physical “responsive display”, indicating it will be on the pricier side.
The display is a full-length mirror that includes an LCD display, surround-sound speakers, a camera and a microphone which creates room for two-way interactions with live classes. The company says all activities can be performed on a yoga mat, with the intention being that space will not be an issue, nor will more equipment be required.
The Mirror, when activated is supposed to serve as a virtual gym. When deactivated, it’s just a mirror. That is all that is known for now, though Brynn Putnam, the ex-ballet dancer who went on to form the New York-based upscale gym brand called Refine Method 8 years ago is behind the project. She plans on accelerating the growth of her fitness brand with its own fitness-based material.
“After decades on the front lines of fitness, I have seen first-hand the critical need for an at-home fitness option that doesn’t require compromising quality for convenience,” Putnam said in VentureBeat. “Mirror addresses that need by delivering the variety, personalization, and interactivity of the studio experience directly into members’ homes.”
“Brynn and her team are innovating in new ways across content, software, and hardware,” added Spark Capital general partner Kevin Thau. “Mirror is positioned to become the leading platform for personalized in-home fitness and wellness.”
Beyond in-home use, wellness has been a hot topic in real estate strategies for office and hotel assets as it’s starting to become a must-have amenity. Mirror could make for an innovative way to integrate fitness into the workplace. As well as being spatially efficient, Mirror is also able to offer a diverse range of fitness programs, allowing employees to de-stress and enable further productivity.
In Hotels, digital fitness programs could serve as a highly customizable room amenity as customization is becoming more important to patrons. We could see guests preloading fitness content before check-in to be used during their stay.
Mirror is joined in this space by Aaptiv, a fitness startup that announced $38 million in funding to grow its fitness programs based on audio. In the U.K., Fiit raised $3 million for a startup that sounds similar to Mirror. Meanwhile, brick-and-mortar are jumping on board too, with ClassPass getting $70 million last year to help people find nearby fitness classes. This is a trend you’ll want to keep your eye on.