Wearable Tech World Feature Article
November 14, 2013

Under Armour Will Pony Up $150 Million to Buy MapMyFitness, One of the World's Largest Fitness Tracking Platforms

 Quite some time ago we downloaded MapMyRun – one of the ten or so collection of free and paid applications that comprise the MapMyFitness cloud- and SaaS-based platform and ecosystem. The app itself – in our case for iOS, is quite comprehensive. Some folks might actually consider it a bit intimidating. We believe we may have paid some money for it (we can’t remember alas, it has been a long time) and we certainly cannot say we’ve ever been disappointed with the complete set of capabilities it offers – indeed a few dollars very well spent if indeed we did pay a few dollars for it.

The total MapMyFitness ecosystem has since grown to encompass over 20 million registered users, so clearly others find similar value in the apps that we do. It is worth noting that MapMyFitness is an open platform, and one that integrates easily with more than 400 fitness tracking devices, sensors and wearable devices. Utilizing GPS and other advanced technologies, MapMyFitness provides users with the ability to map in great detail, to record in great detail and to share across myriad social networks their workouts.

The MapMyFitness team has long had ambitions to build a large scale digital health community across as large a body of athletes as possible – well, let’s add here that we include as well anyone serious enough about their health and fitness, athlete or not, to willingly expend the time to put the apps to full use – there is a learning curve to overcome and anyone who emerges on the other side of that curve qualifies.

So then, with all those users in tow and a clear goal to deliver an open platform for its communities, why did MapMyFitness agree to a buyout by Under Armour? Well, no doubt, Under Armour made them an offer they could not refuse – and all the more power to the MapMyFitness founders and their team of over 100 employees. We’re sure they will put the $150 million it took for them to sell to very good use.

Under Armour competes with all the usual suspects in the digital and wearable tech fitness space – Jawbone, FitBit, Nike, and others in this fairly crowded space. With the acquisition Under Armour may now be able to offer a possibly unique differentiator to the other players on a fairly large scale. Why? Simply because MapMyFitness not only has one of the largest connected fitness communities in the world but also among the largest in terms of overall diversity of users.

These MapMyFitness users open up all sorts of new possibilities for Under Armour to sell not only its wearable tech and other digital devices but as well its entire range of sports-related products. Under Armour will certainly be able to add additional depth to MapMyRuns’s existing digital capabilities, and should be able to offer athletes and serious fitness buffs a more substantial training experience - through new digital products and platforms – than MapMyFitness already delivers. Be prepared to be intimidated all over again. Maybe. Perhaps Under Armour will find the magic formula to also make the platform exceedingly easy to learn.

A Match Made in…the Cloud

Kevin Plank, Under Armour’s founder and CEO notes, "This partnership is about Under Armour enhancing our digital expertise to drive the future of performance innovation for the global athlete community. We will build on the community of over 20 million registered and cloud-based users that MapMyFitness has cultivated in the connected fitness space, and together we will serve as a destination for the measurement and analytics needs of all athletes. Innovation has always been at the core of our company, and now we are better positioned to design open, digital products for the athlete of tomorrow and become more proactive in providing solutions that will help people across the world lead healthier lifestyles."

Well that is certainly ambitious. We’re sure Under Armour will happily settle for something less than the entire community of such users, but MapMyFitness will certainly take Under Armour much further down that path. MapMyFitness will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Under Armour and will continue to operate out of its headquarters in Austin, Texas. Perhaps not all that much will change, aside from MapMyFitness having many more resources at its disposal to turn 20 million users into 40 million users. We’ll see.

Robin Thurston, founder and CEO of MapMyFitness adds to Plank’s comments, "MapMyFitness has engaged and built a global community, making advanced training tools more accessible through our web and mobile platforms. The combination of Under Armour's powerful commitment to athletes and innovation and our connected fitness technology allows us to better serve the needs of athletes around the world."

Under Armour will look to initially finance the $150 million acquisition through a combination of borrowing under an existing revolving credit facility and cash on hand. The company is also evaluating longer-term funding options for the transaction. The deal is expected to close by the end of 2013 and Under Armour notes as well that it does not expect previously issued 2013 guidance or its preliminary 2014 outlook to change as a result of the purchase.

For those that care about such things, Under Armour was advised by the investment banking advisory firm, Peter J. Solomon Company and the law firm King & Spalding LLP. MapMyFitness was advised by the investment firm, Allen & Company and the law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich Rosati, Professional Corporation.

 




Edited by Cassandra Tucker




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