Aviron is a connected rower that uses a unique game-led software approach along with an ergonomic and accessible build to engage users both mentally and physically for a full-body workout experience across cardio, HIIT, and strength training. Habit-forming psychology and game design are at the root of 500 plus workout content options, including scenic rows, group workouts, and Aviron exclusives such as multiplayer games, a streaming suite (Netflix, Hulu, Disney+), and Spotify integration. Aviron’s Fitness Entertainment platform aims to make rowing approachable, fun, and enjoyable, with the goal of democratizing rowing for all body types and fitness levels.
Tell us about yourself?
I initially turned to exercise in high school as a way to manage my ADHD and increase my self-confidence, but as I spent more time in the gym, I noticed bored exercisers glued to their phones, just going through the motions of a workout and not getting the most out of the experience. I founded Aviron in 2018 as a better way to exercise. Aviron combines the increased confidence, problem-solving, and resiliency benefits of gaming with non-impact, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for an engaging, calorie-torching workout that taps into users’ competitive side. We launched our first connected rowing machine to the consumer market in 2020, and since then, we’ve seen remarkable growth for a startup, increasing revenue 2.5 times year-over-year from 2021 to 2022 after seeing six times the growth from 2020 to 2021. It’s been a great couple of years for Aviron.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
Honestly, the key to my success is a certain level of naivety at each step of the process. If I knew what it would take, looking back a couple of years, I’m not even sure I would embark on this path. The key is to take the journey step by step and focus on the challenges and wins that are right in front of you. So long story short, I wouldn’t give myself any advice except maybe “go for it!”
What problem does your business solve?
Aviron provides users with a comprehensive alternative to class-based and instructor-led fitness, allowing a whole new group of people who are potentially intimidated, unmotivated, or feel like they have tried everything to experience a truly new way to improve their health. Aviron uses game psychology and design to motivate and excite users. We aim to take workouts off the ‘to-do’ list! Aviron members look forward to their next game, group workout, scenic row, monthly challenge, and achievement badge – enjoying not only the efficient results rowing provides but a fun, immersive, and even addictive fitness entertainment experience.
Traditional rowing machines were loud, difficult to maintain, and low to the ground, with narrow foot placement and narrow seats, making the sport insular and unapproachable to the average person. Aviron is taking rowing hardware to the next level in order to make this highly effective and low-impact workout more accessible and comfortable for people of all ages, body types, and fitness levels – bringing this highly efficient workout modality into the mainstream.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
Aviron was founded as a solution to end boring workouts and to create a home rowing machine to engage and challenge users both mentally and physically, creating a workout journey that’s fun and enjoyable and not only focused on the after-workout results or “high”. If you enjoy something, you’ll do it more and with greater intensity and consistency. This is why Aviron was born.
As a child and teenager, I enjoyed video games very much. I don’t play video games anymore, but I now understand the power that video games and game psychology can have. Research has shown gaming can improve confidence, resilience, and problem-solving. Gaming can also help build friendships and community, filling an integral part of the human need for connection with others. My goal with Aviron is to bring the benefits of gameplay to the fitness world. At Aviron, we use the psychology and design that video games utilize to make workouts habit-forming, confidence-building, immersive, and ultimately fun.
What is your magic sauce?
At the core of Aviron’s philosophy is consistent innovation and development across both hardware and software to create a best-in-class rowing experience that is actually enjoyable. Rowing is traditionally very challenging and boring and takes place on hardware that does not take the needs of the average consumer to heart – and we are committed to changing that.
Aviron is the first to bring fitness, entertainment, and the positive habit-forming psychology of games together. There is no other platform where users can row together as a team to sink pirate ships with community members from anywhere in the world in real-time while getting a full-body workout that is low impact on joints, as well as highly challenging and effective. Not to mention the mental health benefits of working out together and challenging yourself mentally while you strategize the best pace and split time and output to gain the most points.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
Ultimately, my goal is for anyone to be able to access the Aviron fitness entertainment experience no matter where they are or what type of equipment they may be using. We want our software to be easily available for a variety of workout modalities, and our goal is to make all workouts exciting, with interactive fitness entertainment content that provides long-term motivation and helps to create an engaging routine.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
We did not immediately raise VC funding when launching the business in 2018, and we initially focused on building a B2B model as it was less capital-intensive. Just prior to the pandemic, we had decided to begin expanding into direct-to-consumer sales, but because of how quickly gyms and other commercial facilities shut down in March 2020, we had to make that consumer pivot much more quickly than we originally planned. We had to go all in on a completely new approach at a very uncertain time, and it was critical that we found success with consumers immediately to keep the business growing.
How can people get involved?
Visit our website: www.avironactive.com
Join our very active Facebook community. Each week, members like to share their challenges, small wins and sometimes the achievement of very big goals: www.facebook.com/groups/avironactive
Follow us on Instagram: www.instagram.com/aviron.active