“It is not because a large company enters the space that it will succeed”



In the digital fitness space, WHOOP can appear as a “David” in a world of “Goliaths”.

Google finalized its acquisition of Fitbit earlier this year. The company has since revamped its healthcare division and beefed up Fitbit’s staff. Apple has also expanded its presence in digital fitness and introduced a new Apple Watch earlier this month.

Despite this, WHOOP founder and CEO Will Ahmed believes his company can stand out from the crowd. It doesn’t hurt that he has a growing list of supporters who believe in his vision.

In August, WHOOP reached a valuation of $ 3.6 billion in its Series F funding round. The company raised $ 200 million, led by SoftBank Vision Fund. SoftBank Vision Fund invests significant capital in the companies in its portfolio, with the aim of making them leaders in their category.

But beyond SoftBank’s involvement, WHOOP not only counts Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs, Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets and PGA golfer Rory McIlroy as product evangelists, but also investors.

The WHOOP platform consists of a portable permanent fitness device and a monthly subscription, which costs $ 30 per month, or $ 324 for 18 months. Users must have a WHOOP subscription to use their laptop.

The company has just released its latest wearable device for fitness and health, WHOOP 4.0, powered by revolutionary battery technology from Sila Nanotechnologies. He also showcased his new WHOOP Body clothing line and announced a new membership option for users, WHOOP Pro.

In an exclusive interview, I asked Ahmed to tell me a bit more about the new product line and what he thinks about the competition.

Johan Moreno:. If you were in an elevator with Lionel Messi and he asked you to quickly run through the main differences between WHOOP 3.0 and 4.0, what would you tell him?

Will Ahmed: We have greatly improved the overall technology. WHOOP 4.0 now has additional detection for monitoring heart rate, pulse oximetry, skin connectivity, skin temperature and respiratory rate. The product is 33% smaller, while still providing five days of battery life, and it can be worn on the whole body. You can actually take your sensor and put it in WHOOP Body clothing so you can wear it in bra, shorts, boxers, etc., making WHOOP 4.0 truly the first technology to go all over your body. . In addition, we have released a new sleep coach, which allows WHOOP 4.0 to vibrate and wake you up at the appropriate time in the morning. We have also released a new health monitoring feature, which allows WHOOP 4.0 to alert you if certain physiological information is outside of its baseline.

JM: Tell me about battery technology in WHOOP 4.0, powered by Sila Nanotechnologies. How did your relationship with Sila come about? How long can a WHOOP user expect to wear their bracelet without needing to charge it?

WASHINGTON: In the fall of 2019, we learned about Sila and the promising capabilities of his drum materials. We quickly discovered that their unique technology had the potential to allow us to unlock more features with a smaller portable device, all without sacrificing our five-day battery life. We built the initial battery prototype together in early 2020 and now WHOOP 4.0 is the first product in the world to incorporate Sila Nanotechnologies’ silicon anode battery. This enables a reimagined industrial design previously unattainable due to battery size constraints by providing 17% higher energy density than the battery in WHOOP 3.0.

JM: What upgrade options are available for existing WHOOP users who want the new 4.0 tracker? Does WHOOP plan to continue supporting older products?

WASHINGTON: Membership in WHOOP is unique in that we believe that the material should be included with the subscription. There is no additional charge for WHOOP 4.0. Current WHOOP members with at least 6 months of membership on their account are eligible for a free upgrade. All members with less than 6 months of membership can easily extend their membership and also be eligible for the free upgrade.

JM: Some WHOOP users have complained about WHOOP subscription fees. Although the tracker is free, it requires a subscription of $ 30 per month or $ 324 for an 18-month subscription. Can you describe some of the benefits of WHOOP’s recurring subscription model for us? Are there plans to change or relocate the model?

WASHINGTON: We consider it our responsibility to deliver the value of the subscription. We are delivering new features and analytics at a much faster rate than any other product on the market. When you look at what we’ve updated, even over the last three months, it’s a huge amount of new stuff. We believe that the mission of improving health evolves over time, and as a service we will evolve with you in this process. The consumer, in turn, must feel that we are offering this value in order to continue paying for the subscription.

JM: Fitbit announced a new feature, the Daily Readiness Score, which is very similar to the WHOOP Daily Recovery Score. The Daily Readiness Score will be included with Fitbit’s Premium Membership of $ 9.99 per month. What do you think of Fitbit’s new feature and how does WHOOP plan to respond to it?

WASHINGTON: We wish Fitbit the best of luck with their new feature.

JM: As you may know, Google completed the acquisition of Fitbit earlier this year. Google has since revamped its healthcare division and beefed up Fitbit’s staff. Apple has also expanded its presence in digital fitness and introduced a new Apple Watch this week. How does WHOOP plan to stay competitive with industry giants investing more resources in digital health and fitness solutions?

WASHINGTON: I would say there have been huge competitors in this market for 10 years, and it’s a very tough market: Nike, Under Armor, adidas, Jawbone, Intel, Microsoft, Google, all of them are companies that have launched products in this space and has met with limited success. Just because a large company enters the space doesn’t mean that it will be successful. For WHOOP, we had a very focused perspective on why we are building this technology. We want to develop technology to improve health. WHOOP doesn’t let you call an Uber or engage in 100 different apps, but when it comes to accurately measuring health, we’re the best. Our focus on improving health has allowed us to stay true to our overall mission.

JM: Does WHOOP plan to remain an independent company? Do you see potential synergies with big tech companies?

WASHINGTON: We are building WHOOP today to be a self-sustaining business.

JM: Tell me more about WHOOP Body. What was the thinking behind the creation of the clothing line? Do you expect clothing to continue to represent a future growth opportunity for WHOOP?

WASHINGTON: We generally think wearable tech should be cool or invisible. Cool means tech is something you can dress up on your wrist and have all kinds of different stripes, colors, and textures to go with your aesthetic. When you wear something 24/7, that’s a big commitment. Invisible is the new frontier that we are innovating with WHOOP Body, featuring Any-Wear â„¢ technology. This will allow the sensor to disappear in various WHOOP Body clothing. We will continue to offer more and more WHOOP clothing and sensor locations over time to allow the sensor to disappear throughout your body.

JM: I also noticed that WHOOP has a new Pro membership option. Tell me a little more about the thinking behind the new and improved membership option and what prompted WHOOP to offer it?

WASHINGTON: WHOOP Pro includes a new WHOOP item every quarter – a new battery, a garment, a new bracelet, a limited edition kit – and during the year you receive four free items. It also includes free shipping on everything and 20% off everything in the WHOOP store. All this for $ 12 per month. We have seen our members love the clothes and come back to buying them regularly. We thought this would provide them with a more cost effective solution, ultimately enhancing the ease of use for all WHOOP members.



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