Mark Mullett and Ashley Mills, co-founders/co-CEOs of Obe Fitness, talk a lot about the term “entertainment.” For the record, this is not a reference to the Butler County, Ohio-based amusement park, which serves as the home of “the world’s largest train exhibit”, but rather to one of those industry ports such as infotainment or webinar.
Here it is meant as the context that the New York-based company sees as its principle differentiator from an increasingly crowded market. Mills describes it as “where entertainment and fitness meet. Talent is key to that. Not just being able to cast talent that can give a great workout, but they also have that X factor. They have that X factor to get on screen and bring you home.” But it has the potential to make you feel something.”
The company is building an audience of influencers including Kelly Ripa, Kate Hudson and Tiffany Haddish, the latter of whom participated in the $15 million Series A the company is announcing today.
“Capital is really about team growth and awareness in some of the key business development initiatives,” Mullett says. “In the current environment, where everyone is talking about their various home workouts, you definitely need the resources to grow. So this round is about getting Obe in front of as many people as possible.”
The round was led by CAVU Venture Partners and included Athlete, Samsung Next, Wheelhouse Entertainment and WW International, Inc. As well as previous investors Cassius Ventures, Ludlow Ventures, Harris Blitzer Sports Entertainment and BDMI have included.
That’s a very diverse list of parties with a diverse list of interests in the platform – take Samsung, which currently offers the Obe platform on its smart TVs. Users can also access it on iOS and Android devices and cast it according to their TV set.
Obe (pronounced “obey”) bills itself as a “premium” service. At $27, it’s definitely on the high end, versing offerings like the $10/month Apple Fitness+ or Peleton’s $13 monthly fee. Unlike Peloton, which has proprietary equipment attached, Obe actually abandoned the equipment entirely at launch, though it gradually expanded its offerings to include things like free weights and trampolines for its buoyancy classes. Done – tool that’s a little more forgiving in smaller spaces.
Founded in 2018, the company saw a huge increase in users during the pandemic. While Obe doesn’t disclose the number of subscribers, its founders told me that the platform’s user base grew 4 times last year.
“We started this company three-and-a-half years ago,” says Mullet. “When COVID hit in March of 2020, our team, our talent, our interface — everyone was ready to receive hordes of new users who needed to be satisfied with the movement and by someone who helped them. To keep you motivated, intelligent and confident during a difficult time. Time.”