Zwift, an app that lets cyclists compete and interact with each other in a virtual world, has raised $120 million to fund an expansion into esports.
The Series B investment — the second major round of funding for a start-up — was led by venture capital firm Highland Europe, whose portfolio includes Huel, WeTransfer and eGym.
Founded in 2014 by trader-turned-CEO Eric Min, alongside co-creators Jon Mayfield, Scott Barger and Alarik Myrin, the firm has so far gained 1 million registered users and raised a total of $166 million in capital from investors.
"I started my career on Wall Street," Min told CNBC in an interview. He went from a vice president role at J.P. Morgan to starting his own trading platform, Sakonnet Technology, before travelling to London and deciding to set up Zwift.
"This idea sort of mixes what I've been doing in my profession and my passion, which is cycling," he said. Cycling is the dominant form of fitness training on Zwift's platform, its boss said, with running being an emerging area of focus.
To use Zwift's platform, users first need a stationary bike or a treadmill. The app hooks up to a smart trainer and sensors to communicate how fast a user is riding or running and whether they are travelling uphill.