Bose joins as late investor in Aaptiv's Series C, collaborates on audio AR

By Jonah Comstock
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Aaptiv, a fast-growing New York-based digital fitness content-maker, has added a follow-on investment from Bose Ventures, the investment arm of technology company Bose Corporation, to its recent $22 million Series C round, bringing the total up to $23 million.

“Closing our Series C was a significant milestone for Aaptiv. We are honored to now be supported by Bose, a global leader and innovator in audio products and research for more than 50 years,” Ethan Agarwal, founder and CEO of Aaptiv, said in statement. “Aaptiv is committed to making audio the preferred format to consume digital fitness content simply because it’s a better member experience, and we are thrilled that Bose is helping us achieve that.”

The investment makes sense since both Bose and Aaptiv have a focus on audio — Bose is famous for its high-end noise-cancelling headphones, while Aaptiv offers an app that helps a user choose from a library of audio training sessions based on their needs. An Aaptiv membership, which costs $15 per month or $100 per year, gives access to more than 2,500 classes with more being added weekly.

Bose has recently introduced Bose AR (which it calls an audio augmented reality platform) and is recruiting startups, including Aaptiv, to create apps for the platform. It has set aside $50 million to invest in those startups.

“So far, the broader excitement about augmented reality (AR) has focused on its visual possibilities. But its audio possibilities are just as exciting — maybe even more so — because the benefits can be enjoyed by mainstream consumers now, not in some undefined future,” Bose wrote on its website. “Using only a Bose AR-equipped wearable, a smart phone and an app enabled with Bose AR, the new platform lets you hear what you see, making everything more valuable, more emotional, and more meaningful. All you provide are simple head movements, voice commands, and taps on your wearable; the Bose AR platform does the rest. You stay involved in the world around you and your phone stays tucked away.”

For Aaptiv, augmented reality will allow the company’s workouts to be used without blocking out sounds in the world.

“The company will make its more than 2,500 workouts available through supported devices — allowing Aaptiv members to immerse themselves in audio content while remaining aware of their surroundings,” the company wrote in a release. “This will be a game-changer for fitness enthusiasts, including competitive cyclists who often unplug their headphones while riding.”

Bose joins other strategic investors Amazon Alexa Fund, Disney, Warner Music Group, and NWS Holdings.

“We are impressed with the work Aaptiv has done to change the way people exercise and train,” Steve Romine, managing director, Bose Ventures, said in a statement. “Aaptiv’s audio-based workout offerings are a great fit with our vision for the Bose AR platform and provide an excellent opportunity to collaborate around the future of fitness.”