NEP Invests in Wahoo Fitness

Norwest Equity Partners (NEP) has made a significant investment in Wahoo Fitness, a provider of smart training products.

Wahoo’s products include indoor bike trainers, GPS bike computers, apps and sensors for cyclists, runners, and fitness enthusiasts. The company’s product portfolio includes KICKR indoor cycling trainers, ELEMNT cycling computers, and TICKR heart rate monitors.

Wahoo’s products are sold in over 50 countries through retailers as well as through the company’s own direct-to-consumer website. The company, founded in 2010 by CEO Chip Hawkins, is headquartered in Atlanta and has more than 100 employees (www.wahoofitness.com).

NEP’s investment marks the first time Wahoo has partnered with an institutional investor. “We are excited to work with an investment partner like NEP,” said Mr. Hawkins. “Our partnership with NEP is a direct reflection of the success we have built to date, and we are excited for the opportunities that lie ahead with their team by our side. We are confident our partnership with NEP will help us achieve our next phase of growth.”

“Wahoo represents a highly reputable brand in the evolving fitness technology space through its ecosystem of category-leading products,” said Tim DeVries, NEP Managing Partner. “Chip Hawkins and his team have generated impressive growth during Wahoo’s short history, and their work has positioned the company for continued growth not only within its current offerings but also through additional products and channels in the near future. NEP is fortunate to partner with the Wahoo team, and we view this opportunity as a great fit with our active lifestyle investment platform.”

NEP’s experience in the active lifestyle sector includes Movati Athletic, a fitness club operator in Canada (acquired in October 2014); The Edge Fitness, a fitness club operator on the East Coast (acquired in December 2014); Christy Sports, a winter sports specialty retailer (acquired in October 2015); Bowtech, a designer and manufacturer of archery equipment (acquired in June 2013); and Life Time Fitness, a fitness club operator (acquired in June 1996 and exited via an IPO in October 2006).

NEP makes equity investments of $30 million to $250 million in companies that have more than $10 million in EBITDA. Sectors of interest include agriculture, business services, consumer, distribution, industrials, energy, and healthcare. In April 2015, NEP closed Norwest Equity Partners X LP, a $1.6 billion fund and Norwest Mezzanine Partners IV LP, an $800 million fund formed by NEP’s affiliated mezzanine investment firm, Norwest Mezzanine Partners. NEP is headquartered in Minneapolis (www.nep.com).

Baird (www.rwbaird.com) was the financial advisor to Wahoo.

© 2018 Private Equity Professional | July 26, 2018

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