A popular excuse for not working out is: it’s an inconvenience. Joining a gym is inconvenient and finding the time is difficult. But that’s all destined to change with the creation of MIRROR, the first-ever interactive hardware-enabled home gym that streams live and on-demand fitness classes. Classes are led by NYC’s top fitness instructor and all aspects of the class can be personalized based on user feedback and biometric data. MIRROR literally transforms any space into a fully-functioning workout space through its LCD panel, stereo speakers, camera, microphone that doubles as a one-way mirror when not in use.
AlleyWatch spoke with CEO and founder Brynn Putnam about MIRROR’s latest funding for its exciting new product that’s looking to revolutionize in-home fitness workouts.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
MIRROR is announcing $25M in new fundraising from our existing lead investor, Spark Capital. This brings MIRROR’s total funding to $38M from additional investors including Lerer Hippeau, First Round Capital, Primary Venture Partners, BoxGroup, and Brainchild Holdings.
Tell us about the product or service that MIRROR offers.
MIRROR is creating a new category of in-home fitness with cutting-edge hardware, responsive software, and best-in-class content that transforms any room into a complete home gym.
The Mirror is a nearly invisible, interactive home gym that streams live and on-demand fitness classes in a variety of workout genres, led by the top instructors in NYC. Content is curated based on an individual’s goals or mood, then further personalized in real-time through a combination of user feedback and biometric data.
MIRROR’s all-in-one responsive display is comprised of an LCD panel, stereo speakers, camera (with lens cap for privacy), microphone and one-way mirror to create a fully immersive fitness experience within your home. During a workout, instructors provide real-time instruction and even personal shout-outs. MIRROR then optimizes in real-time based on a user’s goals, preferences and biometric data. Sync a Bluetooth heart rate monitor or Apple Watch to enable competition mode and MIRROR’s proprietary algorithm will track your ability to achieve, maintain and recover from target heart rate zones. Try to hit the target or compete with your personal best.
MIRRORs streams 50+ new workouts each week from our production studio in NoMad. At launch, classes include cardio, strength, yoga, Pilates, barre, boxing and stretch, with levels ranging from beginner to expert.
What inspired you to start MIRROR?
I have spent my entire professional life in the health and wellness space, first as a professional dancer at the NYC Ballet and most recently as the founder and CEO of Refine Method, a chain of boutique fitness studios in NYC.
After more than a decade in the fitness space, I found myself the owner of a gym, yet struggling to work out. As a busy entrepreneur and new mom, I was increasingly unable to fit in time at the gym. However, working out in-home to me meant sacrificing quality for convenience.
I set out to figure out how to bring the essentials of a good studio workout–variety, personalization and community–to the most convenient place: your home. From there, MIRROR was born.
How is MIRROR different?
The Mirror’s slim footprint and interactive display, provide a uniquely immersive and personalized workout experience.
MIRROR provides the sweat of a treadmill without giving up a whole room in your house, the personalization of a personal trainer, without the steep cost, and the variety of a full workout DVD collection, except this one gets new live workouts added 7+ times per day.
More broadly, MIRROR is poised to become the first new screen in your life since the iPhone. MIRROR is a new kind of a platform–connecting you to other people and to a better version of yourself.
MIRROR is unique in its category because it owns the fully integrated end-to-end experience. We create custom hardware, proprietary software and original content so that every element of the experience is deeply aligned with the user’s needs, and can quickly respond to improve the experience as those needs evolve.
More broadly, MIRROR is setting out to become the next consumer screen (e.g. TV, laptop, phone) but for experiential content.
We describe MIRROR as “open source hardware,” because our secret sauce is in how we’re building on top of a baseline of hardware technology that already exists. We have a unique configuration of custom pieces, but a number are off the rack by design — this gives us the ability to easily incorporate new features and expand in really compelling ways.
What market does MIRROR target and how big is it?
The fitness industry is a $25B market. 55M Americans belong to a gym. Yet over 2/3s of people who exercise do some form of working out in-home. The fastest growing segment of the market has been boutique fitness studios, where clients are paying a premium for higher quality classes.
This means people today are hungry for great content, instruction and experience, but convenience is critical.
Furthermore, the in-home workout space is only going to get bigger and bigger. Millennials, having grown up going to boutique studio classes, are going to start families and move to the suburbs and desire in-home options that rival the studio experience. Aging baby boomers will start to look for in-home rehab options, and personal training is going to be an increasing part of their lives.
What’s your business model?
At launch, MIRROR will be sold direct to consumers nationwide on our website. The Mirror costs $1,495 with a monthly subscription of $39 for unlimited live and on-demand classes. Coming soon, 1:1 personal training starting at $40 per session.
You’ve launched a new product. Would you please tell us about that?
In a crowded space, like with laptops, phones, or chips, creators and entrepreneurs can compete based on features and specs. However, when you launch something new with the potential to be truly transformational, you can’t compete based on specs but rather the experience you’re providing. Furthermore, disruptive products must be able to provide an unparalleled experience that enhances people’s lives, rather than forcing a shift in behavior.
There’s also a distinction between what can be build and what needs to be built. Technology should augment the human touch, not replace it.
What was the funding process like?
We were extremely lucky to meet incredible investors early on who understood our vision and believed in the opportunity.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
There’s a lot of buzz about the process for females raising money, but I believe that fascination can cut through all bias. If you can fascinate your audience with the product and the opportunity, you have a better chance to rise above any potential biases.
For me, seeing was believing. Nothing like MIRROR exists on the market. Once we were able to show the experience to investors, the product really sold itself.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
A huge market that is growing and a team that has decades of experience building great content.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We have some exciting collaborations in the pipeline, so stay tuned.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Investors are consumers, too. Meaning, you don’t just need to pitch them, you need them to buy.
Resist the temptation to show off what you can build and instead allocate your resources to solving a problem that you are uniquely qualified to solve.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
MIRROR is vying to become the next, new screen in consumers’ lives. Small and informational content belongs on the phone, entertainment belongs on a tv and experiences belong on the Mirror. Without getting ahead of ourselves we’re excited about what this could mean for physical therapy, beauty and education, but we’re just getting started.
Where is your favorite fall destination in the city?
Washington Square Park. Swings and a fountain provide hours of amusement for my 2-year-old!