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Founded in 2016, VirZOOM has the potential to change the future of at-home fitness. Combining virtual reality (VR) technology and Alphabet’s (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google Street View, fitness buffs can use VirZOOM to “travel” the globe while working out (alone or in groups).
Source: Andrush via Shutterstock
The company is raising funds through the equity crowdfunding site Wefunder to help support growth, which gives us the opportunity to grab our share of this growing market.
You see, when people canceled their gym memberships in 2020 due to Covid-19 lockdowns, many pivoted to digital fitness… and many of those likely will stay there —as many as 47%, according to the athletic shoe analysts at RunRepeat. Digital fitness can be defined as “digital devices, software, and applications that are used in health and fitness.” Think things like fitness aps, wearables like the Apple Watch, and streaming video workout programs.
Digital fitness is an estimated $1 billion industry today… and industry analysts expect it to grow 640% by 2028.
Fitness apps, like what VirZOOM offers, alone are expected to grow 338%, according to RunRepeat.
People are embracing digital fitness (yours truly included) – and now’s the time to act.
VirZOOM’s Technology Separates It from the Rest
So what exactly does VirZOOM offer?
VirZOOM offers a fitness app compatible with many VR headsets available on the market today, including the Oculus Quest from Meta (NASDAQ:FB).
VirZOOM’s app, which the company developed with help from the developers of the Guitar Hero and Rock Band video games, allows you to use your body motion to travel around the world. As mentioned above, the company does this with Google Street View.
But using VR to simulate travel hasn’t always been an easy sell. In the early days of VR, people often complained of motion sickness… something you definitely want to avoid during a workout.
VirZOOM solves that problem with patented technology.
Motion sickness in virtual spaces has to do with turning in the metaverse while remaining stationary in real life. VirZOOM modeled movement within its app after how a rider controls a motorcycle: We look, we lean, and then we turn.
In VirZOOM’s app, if you steer without looking, it models a lane-change sort of motion but doesn’t change your frame of reference. Only when you look and change your head position will you turn in the virtual space. For a video explaining the technology in more depth, simply go here.
VirZOOM Leads the Pack
After a seven-day free trial, it costs $9.95 a month or $99.95 annually to access the app’s various fitness programs. (For comparison’s sake, the cost of the average gym membership in the United States will run you from $58 to over $100 a month, depending on where you live.)
Since its app launched, the company boasts 387,000 installs – of which 175,000 are just since December 2021.
Not only that, but a recent experiment found that using the company’s technology increased enjoyment during a workout:
A recent experiment using VirZOOM products conducted by Brunel University and the University of Exeter and published in the British Journal of Health Psychology reported that experiencing VR with music raised perceived enjoyment of exercise by 26.4%, compared with a control condition of no VR or music. And the VR combined with music raised enjoyment by 17.5% when compared to music on its own.
Based on those results, it makes sense that VirZOOM is leading the pack in engagement in the digital fitness space.
Another digital fitness company, Peloton (NASDAQ:PTON), has been making headlines in recent weeks due to declining demand for its bikes, laying off thousands of workers, and sales plummeting as people start to return to the post-pandemic world.
But big names still have interest in this beaten-down company. As reported by CNBC last Friday, Peloton’s stock surged due to rumors of potential buyers including Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Nike (NYSE:NKE).
Bottom line: Digital fitness is here to stay, thanks in large part to the metaverse…
Our Lives Are Moving to the Metaverse
According to Brand Essence Market Research, metaverse market size is expected to grow from $44.96 billion in 2020 to $596.47 billion by 2027. That’s a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 44.8%.
That is a huge opportunity for any company working in the space…
And a huge opportunity for us as private investors.
As InvestorPlace’s resident venture capital investing expert, Cody Shirk, shared recently:
Whether you like it or not, [the metaverse is] the direction our world is headed. It’s the way we soon will be working, interacting and living our lives.
Not necessarily because we want to. Instead, there will be no other options.
We don’t have to like it or understand it… but we would be fools not to want to make money from it.
(For a great explanation of the metaverse and the opportunity, check out Cody’s piece on it here.)
And right now, we have a chance to grab a stake in one sector of our lives that is already moving in that direction…
VirZOOM’s Current Raise
VirZOOM is currently raising funds through Wefunder’s equity crowdfunding platform. Right now, the company is offering early-bird terms at a valuation of $24.3 million – but that might not last much longer.
If you are interested in investing in VirZOOM, it’s a minimum investment of $500.
Like with any type of investment, investing in private companies carries risk. You shouldn’t invest more money than you can afford to lose. Before acting, I recommend looking into the company yourself to see if it meets your personal investment criteria.
You can find the details of the deal, including how to invest, here.
On this date of publication, Jessica Zeller did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.
Investing in startups through equity and real estate crowdfunding or asset tokenization requires a high degree of risk tolerance. Despite what individual companies may promise, there’s always the chance of losing a portion, or the entirety, of your investment. These risks include:
1) Greater chance of failure
2) Risk of fraudulent activity
3) Lack of liquidity
4) Economic downturns
5) Dearth of investor education
Read more: Private Investing Risks
Jessica Zeller has spent over a decade following the financial markets and bridging the gap between retail investors and complex investment strategies. Her focus has been in technology and high-growth investment strategies.
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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.