WHOOP, a health tracking and performance wearables company that sells its device for $500, has introduced a $30/mo. subscription service to reach a wider demographic (i.e. beyond elite athletes) as it pursues international expansion. The service includes the wrist-based wearable device, offers advanced analytics and access to the Whoop community (think: social network for fitness minded). Meant to be worn 24/7 (it’s waterproof), WHOOP collects 5 metrics (think: heart rate, motion, skin conductivity) 100x/second; far more than the average wearable. The company then stores that data on their servers, scrutinizes it and then provides the user with professional quality sleep, recovery and exercise analysis. WHOOP markets the technology as a way for humans to “perform at the highest level” and maintains an impressive list of clientele including; MLB (device approved for game use), the NFL (NFLPA using it to track player recovery) and Duke Men’s basketball.
Howie Long-Short: WHOOP, a privately held entity, has raised +/- $50 million to date from a series of high profile sports-related investors (and venture funds) including; David Stern (former NBA Commissioner), Durant Company, NFLPA and Russell Okung (Chargers tackle). There is one way to play the company though, Infosys Ltd; an Indian multinational corporation that offers business consulting, IT and outsourcing services. The company invested $3 million dollars in WHOOP’s $15 million Series B round in December ’15. The company trades on the NYSE under the symbol INFY.
Fan Marino: Before you add $30/mo. in recurring expenses to your bottom line, consider the results of a research study conducted by researchers at Bond University in Queensland. The group identified 250,000 health and wellness apps available to the public (only 22 had enough data to review) and found just ONE (Get Happy) had enough evidence to prove its efficacy (many made issue worse). Interestingly, the researchers found that users of MyFitnessPal (has tens of millions of users), the app acquired by Under Armour by $475 million, “showed no significant reduction in weight loss or behaviors around physical activity and diet when compared with those who did not use the app.” If anyone is surprised that counting steps won’t turn you into an Adonis, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.
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