Would you wear a virtual reality headset while riding a bike? The answer is no, hopefully, but what about a stationary bike? One Cambridge-based fitness startup, VirZOOM, is hoping virtual reality can be the next key to a new fitness craze.
Fitness companies like Peloton have raised massive amounts of cash to build techie fitness empires, and while Peloton (which has raised more than $444 million, for the record) relies on video trainers to keep you inspired, VirZOOM doesn’t think it’s going far enough throwing you into an entirely different world to get you in shape in this one.
The startup is going to be selling its own bikes starting in March, and also plans to sell a small sensor that could attach to your existing setup and allow you to don a VR helmet and be transported into a world where your pedaling translates to actual movement. The startup focuses on building experiences that don’t just make you feel like you’re taking a leisurely ride outside your house sans fresh air, the gamified workouts do things like put you on horseback and send you riding through Old West towns lassoing bandits.
VirZOOM announced today that it has closed $5.5 million in seed funding. Investors in the round include Skywood Capital, Fairhaven Capital, Equity Resource Investments and the Greycroft Venture Partner Gaming Tracker Fund. The company has raised around $12.2 million to date.
Given the bulkiness of today’s VR headsets, the entire scene is a little laughable and not necessarily the most comfortable, especially considering the grossness of a sweaty headset. There are special covers out there for the facepad, but still. The company’s solution is nice, though, because you don’t need a crazy expensive setup to get going — you can utilize a VR headset for your phone or one of the nicer PC or PlayStation rigs.
The VX Bike Controller bike starts shipping in March for $399.