UK-based startup Quell raises $10M Series A led by Tencent to revolutionize the future of fitness gaming technology
Home exercise is boring because it’s lonely. But that’s slowly changing, thanks to fitness gaming. Also called exertainment, exergaming, or active gaming, fitness gaming has become one of the great ways to get people excited about exercise instead of it being a chore they have to suffer through.
Unlike interactive home gyms with live and on-demand fitness classes, fitness gaming combines video games and physical fitness into a winning combo of entertainment and activity, making it fun to exercise. With the health and fitness app sector forecast to reach $10bn by 2027, up from $7bn in 20221, one UK-based tech startup wants to fitness gaming to the next level.
Enter Quell, a UK-based fitness gaming developer and publisher that is pioneering the future of fitness gaming technology. Its ‘Impact’ platform is the world’s first dedicated fitness gaming system, built from the ground up to deliver high-impact training in immersive digital worlds.
Today, Quell announced it has closed a $10 million Series A funding round led by Tencent with follow-on investment from Khosla Ventures, Heartcore Capital, Social Impact Capital, and entrepreneur Naval Ravikant. This latest round brings Quell’s total financing to $15.6 million.
The Series A funding follows a $5.6m seed round completed in December 2020 with participation from Emmett Shear, the CEO and Co-Founder of streaming platform Twitch, Kevin Lin, the Co-Founder of Twitch, start-up accelerator Y Combinator and JamJar Investments.
Quell will use the funding proceeds to upsize its launch game, Shardfall, and continue to expand its video game library. The startup will also commence large-scale production of its ‘Impact’ fitness gaming system, a proprietary motion and biometric tracking technology with haptic sensors that offers a fully immersive video gaming experience where every workout burns over 600kcal/hour, the same as an intense spin class. Quell has seen very strong pre-orders and expects to roll out the product globally later this year.
At the heart of Quell’s wearable device are athlete-grade resistance bands, available in different strength levels, so players can push themselves further, helping them achieve their personal fitness objectives. The device turns the player’s body into the controller, avoiding the need for heavy and uncomfortable virtual reality or camera equipment, and enables users to feel the impact of their movements as they run, jump and fight their way through beautifully rendered immersive environments. The Shardfall game is an intense combat experience where players battle mystical creatures that threaten the sanctity of the Sacred Forest.
Quell’s gaming-first approach is personalized and achieves gym-quality exercise that covers both cardio and strength. It is suitable for all fitness levels and abilities. The inbuilt fitness trackers measure calories burned, heart rate, and speed, and can automatically adjust the game and the workout difficulty to deliver high-intensity exercise.
Commenting on the funding, Quell Co-Founder and CEO Cameron Brookhous said: “The Quell Impact is the first gaming platform designed from the ground up to deliver high-intensity, personalized workouts where the player is the controller. Through our pioneering technology, we aim to help millions of people worldwide unlock the health and wellness benefits of exercising while immersing them in worlds where the hero gets stronger as they do. We’re thrilled with the support we’ve received from such a distinguished team of investors and look forward to seeing the over 10,000 Impact pre-orders arrive in people’s homes soon.”
Dr. Ling Ge, Chief European Representative at Tencent and Quell Board Member, said: “Tencent is delighted to support Quell as it looks to bring the future of fitness to consumers globally. Until now, fitness gaming was an undeveloped sector, providing either a great gaming or fitness experience, but never both. Quell’s Impact device solves this problem – by refusing to sacrifice entertainment or exercise, it provides a consistently entertaining, exhilarating home fitness experience. We’re confident Quell will drive fitness gaming to the mainstream and are proud to support them as they work towards their global launch this year.”