International acquisitions in the digital health and wearable spaces lead to the development of what could be the world’s largest connected fitness community.
From its beginnings designing moisture-wicking athletic gear in a Baltimore, Md. basement to making several multi-million dollar acquisitions in the connected health field in a little over year, Under Armour remains true to its innovative roots. Earlier this month, Under Armour announced the creation of what could be the world's largest digital health and fitness community.
The Power Is in Community
In December 2013, Under Armour acquired Austin-based MapMyFitness, a suite of mobile apps and interactive tools, including MapMyRide for cyclists, along with MapMyRun and MapMyWalk. Since this acquisition, Under Armour has sought to build out its digital platform that connects fitness enthusiasts through shared data and encouragement while they track and analyze their workouts.
“We quickly understood that the power was in the community and an open platform and that these were far more valuable than the hardware tracking device,” said Kevin Plank, Chairman and CEO of Under Armour. “Since the acquisition, we have grown the user base from 20 million registered users to 31 million registered users and gained further insight and validation into the power of the data generated by this community.”
In early January 2015, Under Armour completed its acquisition of Endomondo, one of the largest global connected fitness communities, for a purchase price of $85 million. Endomondo uses mobile-phone-based real-time GPS tracking and other advanced technologies to track workouts and help motivate people to get and remain active.
Eighty percent of Endomondo’s 20 million registered users live outside the US (i.e., primarily concentrated in Europe), providing a strategic complement to Under Armour’s existing digital platform. As a wholly-owned subsidiary of Under Armour, Endomondo will continue to operate out of its headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Under Armour Agrees to Acquire MyFitnessPal
Under Armour’s made its most recent foray into connected fitness with an agreement to acquire MyFitnessPal for $475 million. San Francisco-based MyFitnessPal is the leading free resource for healthy living and nutrition with over 80 million registered users. The acquisition expands the current offerings of Under Armour's Connected Fitness platform to include nutritional resources (i.e., a calorie counter, nutrition and exercise tracker).
With nutritional information for over 5 million foods and offering caloric data for hundreds of exercises, MyFitnessPal seeks to empower its community to make more informed healthy-living decisions. Following the anticipated closing of its acquisition in the first quarter of 2015, MyFitnessPal plans to continue to operate from its headquarters in San Francisco.
Combined with the Company's recent launch of the UA Record app and website, Under Armour will now be connected with over 120 million unique global consumers, representing the largest digital health and fitness community in the world.
“By combining a community of 120 million unique registered users, we are developing a digital ecosystem that provides us with unparalleled data and insight into making every athlete better,” Plank continued. “Understanding the evolving needs of our athletes - how they interact, how they consume, and ultimately how they strive to live healthier lifestyles - will be key inputs to forging deeper relationships and becoming more relevant to how the consumer shops for our brand."
In late 2014, Under Armour held a Connected Fitness Innovation Challenge, bringing digital and wearable developers from around the world to showcase how their innovations might complement the technologies of the Under Armour connected fitness community. Omegawave, based in Espoo, Finland, took first place. Omegawave’s portable, non-invasive assessment tools provide immediate psychological feedback to athletes and their trainers to avoid over-training and reduce the risk of illness and injury.
This connected fitness approach appears to be working well for Under Armour, which posted a 31% increase to $895 million in net revenues for the fourth quarter of 2014, compared to net revenues of $683 million in the prior-year period.