Piper invests in Wattbike
The Piper private equity company is to invest £11.5 million in smart indoor bike brand Wattbike.
Founded in Nottingham in 2007 by former world champion rower Ian Wilson in collaboration with British Cycling, the brand’s bikes could initially only be found in gym chains. They have also been used for training by British Cycling, the England football squad and the British Army as well as by sporting champions such as Jessica Ennis-Hill, Anthony Joshua and Chloé Dygert.
However, its direct to consumer offering has seen rapid growth over the last few years and the business is now forecasting total sales in excess of £21 million in 2020. Wattbike has experienced particularly strong growth in recent months with sales orders rising 192% year-on-year in April.
Dan Stern, Piper’s investment director, said: “We are very excited to be backing the Wattbike team for the next stage of growth. Indoor fitness training alongside the rise in consumers cycling and participating in triathlons make this is a very attractive market sector and Wattbike is in a league of its own when it comes to high-performance indoor bikes. We’re looking forward to working with Rich and the team over the coming years.”
Wattbike is now aiming to become the world’s most popular indoor smart bike and has invested heavily in developing its range of products. This has included the launch of three new smart bikes including the Atom Next Generation model for the consumer market. It is also developing its supporting technology including the Wattbike Hub App which enables riders to collect detailed data for training and performance improvement. The brand’s bike is software agnostic to allow riders to race and train with friends in a virtual world by connecting to other providers such as Peloton or Zwift.
Piper’s investment will be used to help the business to continue its growth in the UK and further penetrate the US and Asia markets. The funding is the sixth investment that the brand has received from the Piper VI £125 million fund.
Rich Baker, chief executive of Wattbike, said: “Since first meeting the Piper team in 2016 they have consistently helped and supported our business. We are confident that their investment and expertise will help us realise our global ambitions for the Wattbike brand.”
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