Pale Fire Capital invests $6 million in ROUVY, the popular augmented reality app for indoor training
The Pale Fire Capital investment group acquires a major stake in VirtualTraining, a Czech company behind the ROUVY indoor cycling and running software application
Pale Fire Capital is positioned to become the majority shareholder in ROUVY and close the deal by the end of September. ROUVY is currently valued at tens of millions of U.S. dollars. The new investment will fuel its ambition to be the #1 global mobile application for virtual cycling and running, surpassing the two-million mark for the community of active users within the next 5 years.
Both ventures possess extensive experience with the online world and a deep knowledge of the market and are staffed by seasoned professionals. Mutual synergies, combined with the two partners' agile business attitude, provide a strong basis for attaining the set targets – strengthening the team and providing resources for the further development of ROUVY.
"Since the beginning, our motivation has been driven by the prospect of providing athletes with a realistic cycling adventure at home. We've come a long way, and we now facilitate this experience through a proprietary technology called Augmented Routes. We are confident that our product offers a convincing experience and great entertainment, and we want to make the benefits available to a greater number of both advanced and occasional cyclists, triathletes and runners around the world. To do that, we've joined forces with PFC. We believe that, together with the investment group's experienced professionals, we will build a strong global business that will bring together the indoor and outdoor worlds and make sports attractive to more people of various ages and backgrounds," explains VirtualTraining CEO Petr Samek.
“I discovered ROUVY as a user during the COVID-19 lockdown. I found out that it was a Czech venture only after virtually cycling hundreds of kilometers through the Alps and the Italian landscape. Petr Samek and his associates are doing a great job that puts their product on par with the best solutions available in the global market. The ambition to be second to none in the worldwide context and to create a highly entertaining and rewarding product has brought us together and has ultimately resulted in our close partnership. Our other partners at PFC are sports fans too, which is why we're very happy to provide support for the further development of ROUVY,” comments Dušan Šenkypl, founding partner of Pale Fire Capital.
Enjoyed by the international athletic community and fitness enthusiasts from all over the world, ROUVY is an application that simulates the outdoors while the athletes ride a stationary bicycle, enabling them to practice virtually anytime, anywhere. Only 3 basic things are needed: a smart exercise bike, an Internet connection and ROUVY. Thanks to geo-synced routes filmed in the real world, the ROUVY sport performance experience borders on perfection. The application simulates practice, including the level of difficulty and path elevation profile. It incorporates a host of features to provide a wholesome experience that includes drafting and a combination of animated 3D riders and objects with the 2D and 360° videos. The highest number of users are in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France and Spain.
The investors and developers have very ambitious plans for ROUVY – they intend to redraw the popularity rankings of cycling applications, currently dominated by ZWIFT, the number one online practice application from the United States.
ROUVY users cycled over 58 million kilometers last year, and nearly 49 million kilometers in the first half of 2021. Nonetheless, this year's target is much more ambitious – no less than 150 million kilometers. For the past 2 years, ROUVY has been a partner to IRONMAN, the world's biggest series of triathlon races, to the Tour de Suisse series of stage races and to Digital Swiss 5, a World Tour pro digital-only series of races. Samek also points out ROUVY's prospective partnership with the Spanish La Vuelta: "We are in the process of negotiating a long-term partnership with the best-known road stage cycling race in the world, and we're preparing a unique digital concept for La Vuelta. I promise that fans will be thrilled about the new options and features, and that professional racers will be much closer to their fans and followers than ever before."
The ROUVY team will be reinforced with the addition of a host of interesting roles in Vimperk and Prague, as well as in Brno, where the company's founders, the brothers Jirí and Petr Samek, are planning to open a new facility for their employees and associates. As its ambitions are growing, ROUVY is in the market for experienced, motivated developers, B2C marketing and product specialists and UI/UX design experts, regardless of where they come from. "One of the most important tasks is to make ROUVY simpler and more fun for newcomers. Apart from simulation, we work hard on fine-tuning onboarding, gamification and the career advance system. All of that places high demands on the product team, developers, and the marketing staff. To say that we have a lot on our plate would be an understatement," concludes ROUVY's CTO Jirí Samek.
About Pale Fire Capital
Pale Fire Capital is an investment fund established by Jan Barta, Dušan Šenkypl, David Holý, and Petr Krajícek in Prague in 2015. The fund's portfolio includes Favi, the furniture and home decor search engine, the Aukro auction portal and the Semantic Visions data analytics firm. Visit www.palefirecapital.com for additional information.
ROUVY is a digital racing platform that enables athletes to cycle and run the world, online and train with friends for fun. The application simulates real outdoor riding on a bike using high-quality, geo-located videos and augmented reality. With ROUVY, anyone can enjoy the endless variety of legendary and exotic locations from the comfort of one’s home. Started by enthusiastic athletes in the Czech Republic, today ROUVY is an official partner of the elite cycling races, all over the globe. Visit https://rouvy.com for additional information.