FightCamp Raises US $90 million to Bring Its Interactive Boxing and Kickboxing Gym to Masses
BCF Ventures shares FightCamp’s origin story with their roots from Montreal, Canada. We invested in the round along US-lead investors NEA, Left Lane, CAA; renowned martial art fighters Mike Tyson, Floyd Mayweather, George St-Pierre, Francis Ngannou; and Canadian entrepreneurs Mitch Garber and Anne-Marie Boucher.
ROOTS FROM MONTREAL, CANADA:
BCF Ventures, a multi-stage Canadian Corporate VC fund, is a proud investor of FightCamp. As part of our multi-stage approach, we wrote a small discovery check at the pre-seed round, and we then deployed a much larger check size in the follow-on rounds. By the time FightCamp has reached the Series A stage, we have invested a check size that was a multiple of 20x from the initial discovery check. Thanks to this multi-stage approach, BCF Ventures remains one of the only few investors that continued to reinvest, including the current Series B closing, since the inception.
We are happy to share a few moments about FightCamp’s origin story that many people do not know about. We had the unique chance of witnessing the birth of FightCamp from their humble beginnings in Montreal and their unique connection with Canada.
Khalil Zahar, Founder and CEO of FightCamp, is a Tunisian-born entrepreneur who moved to Quebec City at a young age. In 2015, Khalil had joined a Montreal-based pre-seed accelerator program called Founder Institute, which was managed by the same CEO at BCF Ventures — Sergio Escobar. The company was initially operating under a different name called Hykso, and it was later changed to FightCamp for re-branding purposes. Khalil was playing with the idea of building a connected sports product in the realms of mixed martial arts. During the four arduous months of the program, they had built the first version of the tracker sensors embedded in the boxing glove, including the algorithms. They were many other “firsts” for the company throughout the program — for example, pitching to mentors and potential investors, marketing to beta users, building the first prototype under a very limited budget, receiving hard feedback from mentors, etc. One life-changing moment for FightCamp was the onboarding of Patrick Chandler when Founder Institute had partnered with the McGill University to recruit student developers for an internship role. Patrick had joined as a developer and he was later promoted to the Chief Data Scientist as he had largely contributed to the development of the algorithms for the motion tracking sensor. Patrick is now the Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer at FightCamp, and is leading the marketing channel to scale the company at the international level. A fun fact is that Patrick had to quit McGill University one semester before graduating from a degree in Mechanical Engineering due to his decision to start working full-time on FightCamp. In a few short months, FightCamp was still in the prototype stage. But more importantly, they had landed a sweet partnership to assist both the US and the Canadian boxing team in preparing for the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics. Right after Founder Institute, we had referred and supported FightCamp to join the Y Combinator program in the US.
At the time of investment with BCF Ventures, FightCamp had launched a pre-sale campaign reaching revenues of $1M USD in 90 days as a trial to target the B2C consumer. This was the tipping point and the customer validation that we had wanted to witness for an investment at the pre-seed stage. It showcased an early sign of a potential product-market fit.
Additionally, we had invited one of our Limited Partners, the family office of Mitch Garber and Anne-Marie Boucher, to participate in the investment round, and to write larger checks as FightCamp moved to larger rounds. Mitch Garber, a serial Canadian entrepreneur with roots from Montreal and the ex-CEO of Caesars Entertainment, had introduced FightCamp to one of the greatest professional fighters in mixed martial arts and the UFC Hall of Famer, Georges St-Pierre, another proud Montrealer, to invest at the current Series B round.
When FightCamp had joined Y Combinator, the company was then required to reincorporate into an American company. So the founding team had decided to relocate to California permanently. Although FightCamp has moved its HQ to California, many Canadian-based angels and VC investors had continuously supported FightCamp. Over the years since Founder Institute, we have been tracking their progress, and we are extremely impressed by the execution level of the founding team. It has been an eventful journey to work with Khalil and the executive team. We are honored to be co-investing along with some of the most prominent US-based VC firms, and we would like to extend our gratitude to FightCamp for the years of trust in our relationship. We hope you enjoyed an uncovered Montreal tech story!
Today, FightCamp, the at-home Boxing and Kickboxing leader in connected fitness, announced $90 million in funding backed by a group of celebrity investors and venture capitalists. The round was led by global venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Connect Ventures, an investment partnership between leading entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and NEA, and celebrity investors rooted in the world of Boxing and MMA including Mike Tyson, Floyd Mayweather, Georges St-Pierre, and Francis Ngannou. With the round of funding, FightCamp plans on expanding to the Android platform, launching internationally, and increasing the depth of its interactive content to help users dive deeper into the sport of Boxing, Kickboxing, and Martial Arts.
“FightCamp takes me back to the basics with a heavy cardio focused regimen. It was a cool way to introduce Boxing to my kids and now I can’t keep them off it,” said Mike Tyson, FightCamp investor, and former undisputed world heavyweight champion.
Instead of focusing on having the widest list of modalities, FightCamp differentiates itself within the at-home fitness market by delivering a deep, authentic dive into the sport that replicates a genuine Boxing and Kickboxing gym at home, and develops real skills that engage members’ minds and bodies. Its winning combination of cutting-edge technology, studio-grade equipment, and trainers with real fight experience has proven successful with members throwing more than 1 billion punches since the start, and sales growing 30 times over the last two years.
“The at-home fitness category was accelerated last year. Now, as more consumers adopt the trend as their permanent routine, we have an even greater opportunity to give people a taste of Boxing and Martial Arts culture in their own home,” said Khalil Zahar, Founder and CEO of FightCamp. “The growth we saw during our first two years before the pandemic started proves that the connected fitness industry is here to stay long after the pandemic is over, and getting the best professional fighters as investors in FightCamp is another step toward giving consumers the most authentic Martial Arts experience from the comfort of their home.”
According to a Consumer Trends report from The New Consumer published earlier this year, 81% of people under the age of 40 prefer to exercise at home, and FightCamp found that 85% more people stick with their routine longer if they use equipment than those who simply stream workouts. Not only do consumers prefer at-home workouts, but Boxing was one of the top 7 most popular fitness classes taken on ClassPass in the US, and outside of the US, Martial Arts was the number one fitness class taken with friends on ClassPass. The appetite for at-home workouts has never been higher, and FightCamp has successfully brought a favorite workout into consumers’ homes — this funding will allow them to continue to do so on a larger scale.
“In 2019, Boxing and Kickboxing classes had 33 percent more participation than cycling classes in the USA, yet the connected fitness space has been saturated with cycling options and other look-alike products. With so much opportunity in the Boxing and Kickboxing segment — arguably the most effective and enjoyable fitness discipline — FightCamp has emerged as a clear market leader, and stands alone in its category,” said Harley Miller, Founder and Managing Partner at Left Lane Capital, a preeminent firm for B2C investments. “We spent time with nearly every relevant player in the connected fitness market and found the market to be filled with expensive products and copycats selling into the same affluent audience. In FightCamp, we saw a truly unique product format and experience, which both captured the spirit of the fighter, while providing an authentic entry point to all levels.”
“FightCamp’s overall efficiency and competitive advantage are what made the company an attractive investment for us,” said Rick Yang, General Partner and Head of Consumer Investing at NEA, lead investor in this funding round. “FightCamp has gone above and beyond the basics of interactive cardio by incorporating advanced motion tracking. Boxing, kickboxing, and other combat sports are huge cultural drivers, and this team knows what it takes to have a solid advantage over any competitors entering this space. Innovation aside, the customer base grew 30 times over two years, with demand outstripping supply, all while burning through minimal capital. This is the type of team and company we love to partner with, and this capital will give them plenty of fuel to continue their rapid scaling.”
Offering wearable punch trackers that display the number of punches and output of each punch thrown and studio-grade equipment, including a bag, base, premium Boxing gloves, quick wraps, and a mat, users are able to learn the necessary skills of the sought-after sport alongside real fighters that teach the authentic skills of Boxing and Kickboxing. Recently, FightCamp launched its Versus Mode that offers users the option to virtually fight against themselves and others on the leaderboard.
FightCamp’s Boxing and Kickboxing experts and certified trainers have carefully curated more than 1000 classes, drills, and trainings to help build the strength and skill of each FightCamp fighter. FightCamp trainers include: Tommy Duquette, former US Boxing team member and Co-Founder of FightCamp; Shanie “Smash” Rusth, a professional MMA competitor; Aaron Swenson, former member of the USA National Kickboxing team; Flo Master, a life-long martial artist and dancer who has worked with many celebrities including Usher, Ciara, Jennifer Lopez, and Will Smith; and PJ Shirdan, a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Certified MMA Strength and Conditioning Coach.
“One of the most intriguing aspects of FightCamp is its consumer engagement. While many users simply begin FightCamp for fitness reasons, they quickly become focused on their form and technique, watching fights, reading fighter bios, and really becoming fans of the sport and ultimately part of its culture,” said Michael Blank, Head of Consumer Investments at CAA. “FightCamp’s goal is to bring the training techniques of one of the oldest sports in history to mainstream audiences, and we look forward to accessing our reach and resources in both sports and entertainment to further grow the business into a worldwide leader in at-home fitness.”
Additional investors include: IVP; Y Combinator; Ilkka Paananen, Founder and CEO of Supercell; Fritz Lanman, CEO of ClassPass; Mike Tyson, former WBC, WBA and IBF world heavyweight champion; Floyd Mayweather, recently named Fighter of The Decade by the BWAA; Georges St-Pierre, UFC Hall of Famer; Francis Ngannou, reigning UFC Heavyweight Champion; Usher, platinum recording artist and dancer; and Katheryn Winnick, actress known for her role in Vikings and 3rd Dan Black Belt holder in Karate and Taekwondo.
Founded in 2016, FightCamp offers consumers the best connected Boxing and Kickboxing experience led by world-class trainers in the comfort and safety of their own home. The FightCamp iOS app holds over 1000 workouts, drills, and trainings, and adds more than 12 new classes each week, allowing users to access each class at their own convenience. Designed to keep users engaged, focused, and in the zone, its uplifting beats, motivating trainers, and powerful technology makes each and every workout exciting. Regardless of Boxing experience, FightCamp builds the skills and strength of all its users from first-timers to advanced fighters.