Whoop’s $200 Million Raise Forecasts What’s Next for Wearable Users (And Companies)
In the Wake of The Wearable Market Exploding, User Are Looking For More
On August 30, 2021, WHOOP, the wearable device company known for their popular health-tracking wrist strap, announced a 200 million dollar equity raise, on a 3.6 billion dollar valuation. If Whoop’s announcement had occurred in 2017, or even as late 2020, the accompanying headline would have been along the lines of, “adoption of wearable technologies inevitable.” To write such a headline in late 2021, would seem out of place. Wearable adoption is no longer a prediction of the future; it’s already happened.
The wake of Whoop’s fast growth has opened a seam of opportunity for the next wearable revolution. The opportunity is for technology-enabled coaching services to help Whoop users make sense of their data, and more importantly to gain actionable insights to change habits and improve overall health & performance.
The first wearable revolution has already passed. That’s just a fact. Whether it’s WHOOP, Oura, Fitbit (which was recently purchased by Google for $2.1 billion), or the Apple Watch, wearables have already approached smartphone-esque popularity. WHOOP’s announcement, then, is emblematic of the NEXT revolution in the wearable biotechnology space: actionable insights which lead to personalized coaching recommendations, behavior change, and performance improvement.
The Next “Wearable Revolution”
There are now dozens and dozens of brands of wearable technology on the market. WHOOP, along with a few others, have separated themselves. Is this because they have the best technology? Not necessarily. Now of course, functioning, accurate technology is essential in a wearable device. Many of the less popular brands do have some of the best technology. But they often fail to relay and present this technology into a format that’s useful for clients.
While other brands solely consider the technology, Whoop understands that the technology, including biometrics data readings and data visualization, remains only part of the equation, a prerequisite. The crucial aspect of the user experience is whether the wearer of the device can actually understand and apply the data to improve their health & performance. For example, Whoop’s popular “Strain” metric puts everything into one simple number.
Another reason for Whoop’s growth involves their partnerships with the largest brands in sports. They’ve partnered with Crossfit, the NFLPA, PGA, and LPGA, big partnerships which show the top of the top in terms of performance are embracing the technology.
They’re also continually seeking out new technology features. For example in early September 2021, Whoop announced it would be purchasing PUSH, a velocity-based training coaching technology. This will add a new dimension to what their devices can do.
It’s in these details, from their user experience, to their growth from partnerships and acquisitions, where the impetus for the next revolution comes from. The technology will continue to improve alongside improvements to the user’s ease of use and how each individual wearer will USE the technology to drive personal changes based on not only the data, but the automated coaching guidance they receive as well.
Where Performance Coaching Comes In
Along with this next evolution, there are going to be more opportunities for performance coaches to bridge that gap. Justin Roethlinshoefer, co-founder of the coaching company Own It and Chief Performance Officer at MaxOne, a digital coaching platform (DCP) business, says, one of the most common messages he hears from clients is, “You know how to take all the data and put it into a language I can actually understand, with specific steps I can actually take and apply.”
Understanding the data is the first step, Roethlingshoefer continues. “We view creating data awareness as the first step to creating ownership. Once you know what the data means and what it’s telling you, you can own any changes you make.” Coaches like Roethlingshoefer fill a gap between the technology and the humans who actually use it. Own It’s integration of both explains why MaxOne recently purchased Own It’s coaching methodology and intellectual property (IP).
This is a major step in helping wearable tech companies solve the problem of keeping their customers engaged and creating life-long changes. MaxOne CEO Jason Mejeur says “we knew right away that taking Own It’s coaching methodology and scaling it was going to have a long-term impact on a 95 billion dollar wearables industry growing 17% year over year. We are excited to be trailblazing that.”
MaxOne’s acquisition of the Own It coaching IP led to key partnerships with companies like Whoop, who know that, in an arms race industry, great coaching and ease of application can differentiate them. It’s not just about how wearables can deliver the best metrics and most accurate data, but who delivers the best client experience to achieve customer engagement at the highest levels and in turn recurring revenues.
Working with MaxOne as their Chief Performance Officer, experts like Roethlingshoefer act as the link between coaching platforms, wearables, and the clients who can actually benefit from the booming technology. On MaxOne’s platform individual wearers of the Whoop strap can not only receive and interpret their own personal biometrics readings, but can get both automated coaching guidance and personal coaching interventions, if desired, based on the built in algorithms. This guides the user towards the habit changes that drive improvements and optimal performance. And, it’s all in one place, right (literally) at the user’s fingertips.
High performers, or those that want to be, can now have not only the data from the wearable, but can be guided toward better habits to improve recovery, deal with unpredictable stress and turmoil, and learn how to live life with a balance of relaxation and productivity.
This new and innovative technology from MaxOne will help ALL users cut through the often complex data on a wearable by focusing on one metric that matters most: HRV.
Heart Rate Variability: The One Metric That Matters Most
Heart rate variability measures how effectively your heart rate shifts in response to changes in demands. A high HRV means it can change quickly, and that it’s responding well, a low HRV means the opposite.
If your heart can respond to changes, it’s one of the best (and on the wearable, the best) sign of overall recovery. A wearable device like Whoop pulls the HRV from your sleep (compared to HRV during exercise and everyday life, which has different applications). By looking at your HRV compared to your baseline (which you can see on your wearable) you can use it as a general indicator of recovery.
If your HRV is low, it’s a sign to ease off, and vice versa. Every stress in your life will affect your HRV. If your training, nutrition, sleep, mindset, personal stress, environment and more are off, that will reflect itself in your HRV score.
That’s what makes HRV the stat that Roethlingshoefer swears by. With Whoop, not only does it show your daily HRV, but also gives a color rating (red=bed, green=good) compared to your baseline, helping you interpret the score.
In a client-coach setting, Roethlingshoefer says this allows his clients to “take ownership” of their habits. Whether that’s a poor evening routine, overtraining, or poor nutrition, Roethlingsheofer asserts it will show up in your HRV. With simple actionable data comes accountability, and the ability to make real behavior changes you can actually own.
It’s a bit cliché in fitness and health these days to talk about how important consistency is, but there’s a reason for that. When you’re aware of the changes you need to make, and then you make them every day, that’s when the results happen. It’s using HRV to help improve your sleep, or training, or nutrition, compounded over months that makes huge changes to your life. If you feel like you’re always tired, stressed, rushed, unproductive, HRV can be the metric to test interventions like your own little self-science experiments.
Who Will Win In The Wearable Space?
You can’t listen to a business podcast these days without hearing that we’re in “the information age.” We’re in the time where those who have access to the most and the best information will win out. Or at least, that’s been the common thought. Although the agricultural age lasted centuries, and the industrial age lasted decades, the information age may still last an even shorter time frame, and we’re already blending into what’s next: what many thinkers coin the “communication age.”
In the communication age, it’s not those who know the most who win. (We all already have access to most of the world’s collected knowledge on our smartphones.) The developed world will have wearable devices the way we have phones. Those wearables will have better and better technology and more information. Those who will win out, both individuals and companies, will have the skills to take the information and can actually make changes from it, to communicate it effectively, to share it in a way users can take ownership of.
Whether that’s a device technology company like Whoop, or a technology-enabled coaching company like MaxOne, the best communicators, the best translators of complex information, will succeed. And, putting the two together, the Whoop device seamlessly integrated with MaxOne’s digital coaching platform with embedded automated and personalized coaching is an example of the synergy between two businesses that will drive change and become the winning combination.
MaxOne’s acquisition of Own It technology and coaching IP, and the multi-year partnership with Whoop will bring further access to coaching, and bring that human element to a digital coaching experience. Like other useless discussions such as “nature vs nurture” the answer of “best technology vs most applicable” clearly comes to one answer: it’s both. There is no getting around having both if you plan to succeed in the coming years, and that’s what companies like Whoop and MaxOne have their sights set on.
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