Why I invested in Perch.fit

Revolutionizing fitness through machine learning and computer vision

In this post, I want to share why I’m stoked to invest in Perch.fit, using the framework described in my post on Mental models for Angel investing.

Technology is reshaping the fitness space: think wearables, Peloton, Mirror, etc. In the US alone, 11M people go running regularly, and 93% of them use technology to help them train. In contrast, while 12M Americans do strength and training regularly almost no one uses technology to train right now.

Enter Perch.fit.

By monitoring your movements during exercise and leveraging machine learning and computer vision, Perch.fit enhances the athlete’s motivation, safety, and effectiveness of strength training. Perch’s data collection and proprietary algorithms, not only enable athletes to reduce injuries and enhance effectiveness, but also enable teams to use real-time data of their athletes to improve team performance. This Wall Street Journal article discusses how LSU uses Perch.fit as an example.

The ultimate goal is to create the gym of the future.. and it’s really cool:

Perch.fit makes money by charging a fee for the equipment show-cased above, and a subscription fee for the analytics and the software on a yearly basis.

While Perch is initially focused on professional athletes and professional sports teams, who benefit disproportionately from its technology, Perch is planning to gradually move down market and create a consumer-focused product as well.

1) Excellent Founder-Market Fit

Perch was founded by Jacob Rotham, Jordan Lucier and Nate Rodman. They met while studying engineering/computer science at MIT and they were all playing either varsity baseball or varsity volleyball. Perch is at the intersection of both passions: sports and engineering.

2) Strong Product-Market Fit

Since they built the first version of their product in 2019, Perch.fit has been able to sell into some of the most elite athletic organizations in the world. Even during a global pandemic, they were able to continue their sales efforts, which speaks volumes about the market demand for their product out there.

The video below gives a nice overview of how LSU Athletics improved their training using Perch.fit:

The usage data is even more impressive: In 1.5 years, Perch grew exponentially from zero to over 100k sets completed and over 20M lbs weight lifted. Perch’s ability to gather insights from that data to improve the product and the performance of athletes and teams, and ultimately everyone doing strength training, is what truly got me excited.

3) Product-Channel Fit and Model-Channel Fit

Perch has been able to build an impressive sales pipeline through content marketing and outbound sales efforts. Deal sizes for teams are certainly large enough to support that for professional athletics organizations, and these efforts can be scaled up as sports teams are allowed back into the gym (post-pandemic).

For the consumer market, the company has yet to establish product-channel and model-channel fit and they have started experimenting, planning to step on the gas later in 2020. As they perfect product-market fit for the b2c market and complete experimentation on channels, they’ll likely raise another round later in 2020 or at some point early next year.

4) Investor-Founder Fit

I was excited about the opportunity to invest in Perch as it’s a truly unique application of advanced data science techniques to a huge market that hasn’t seen much product innovation in a long time. I’m also optimistic I’ll be able to help Jacob think through fundraising and GTM challenges.

Finally, what really makes Perch stand out to me is the immense barrier to entry a product like theirs creates over time. Not only have they built proprietary algorithms and hardware, but they also gather truly unique data on how professional athletes train and gain strength. That data will enable them to improve the product and provide more insights/value over time to both their team clients as well as individual clients.

If you enjoyed this article, consider following me on Twitter or on LinkedIn. I’m also planning to use crunchbase to track all my future investments.

Co-founder @DataCamp— Entrepreneur and Angel investor — jonathancornelissen.com interested in data science, python, rstats, education, entrepreneurship, ...

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