A Smart Barbell and Fitness App Focused on Improving Life Expectancy Through Better Body Composition
Every week I breakdown startup pitches with the added hook that you can invest whether you’re accredited or not (if you don't know what that means, click here).
I base my review on a 3-minute founder pitch and some light diligence.
My scoring system is not a validation of idea, or grading for likelihood of success. It just means, all things being equal at launch — this startup has these boxes checked.
What I look for:
Founder — ability to lead, sell into and influence a given market
Idea — is it inevitable or solving a BIG problem in a scaleable way
TAM — how big is the total addressable market
Traction — do they have meaningful early traction
Unfair Advantage — do they have a competitive edge
Key People: Andrew Page (Head athletic trainer at the NY Athletic Club, and consultant to NBA and international Olympic teams) & Anuj Patel (former digital health venture lead at IMS Health)
Traction: The Axle Workout has taken off in the post-pandemic world, tripling sales from $260k in 2019 to $700k in 2020 and well past $1M in 2021. The concept is super duper simple — its a smart barbell that can be used for multiple exercises in a home gym or big box. When paired with its fitness app, Axle focuses on improving body composition as a way to determine gains and at the same time reduce stress on the body, making this a fitness tool for all ages and athletic experience. And, despite the recent bottoming out of Peloton — there’s still billions of dollars to be made as overweight Americans (and across the globe) try to improve life expectancy.
Terms & Takeaway
Invest in The Axle Workout here 👉 Term Sheet
Security Type: Reg CF
Value Cap: $11,000,000 (w/ 20% discount)
Raised (as of publishing): $102,533
Minimum Investment: $100.00
Here's what I like: Despite my current portly physique, I am a big fan of working out and throughout my life I have always been a person that hit the weight room pretty hard. As I got older and time (and excuses) got in the way I started to feel the wear and tear more — it forced me to look into alternative exercises and workouts and one of my absolute favorites revolve around barbell routines. So, I’m definitely down with a smart barbell. The other part of Axle I really like is the focus on body comp vs calories, strain, rings or whatever. With body comp, the measurables are clearly defined and impact is seen and felt. To me, that is potentially very sticky to users.
Here's what I don't love: As is the case in all fitness/tracking type businesses there are two key factors that I typically dislike… first, and most obviously, hardware. I’m not alone in the investor world for not liking hardware companies (this is why Peloton and many others spend so much on content and subscriptions). When it works it works, but when it slows… your stock goes from $157 to $26 cough* $PTON. Which leads to the second knock, competition is inevitable and when it happens there tends to be a massive sell-off then a new base is built the company has to work to regain market share, which can be really tough in fitness.
Who should invest and why: The price at $11M with a 20% discount (so really $8.8M at convert) is actually quite fair and TBH I would expect if the success continues for Axle to be in a good spot to sell for a nice multiple, especially given the nature of the barbell and fitness style. It’s not something that you buy and it’s the only thing in the house. It’s a product that can be solo or accompany different pieces of equipment so there is not nearly as much likelihood for people to just jump to something fancier. In general, I don’t invest in hardware stuff unless I would literally use it myself. For example as a golfer, I loved Arccos and would have put in money in a flash. So, if that’s you… an exercise buff that likes tech; no reason not to take a look here. Low minimum investment, strong founding team and a product that needs no real introduction. If you don’t “do working out” the incentive is probably not there, but still… worth a few clicks!
As always, startup investing is super high-risk, anything can happen.
Invest in The Axel Workout here 👉 Term Sheet
Questions, DM me 🤳 @kitun.