• Market Crumbs

Covid-19 May Have Helped This New Unicorn

Image via Meghan Holmes on Unsplash

Markets were a sea of red yesterday as Covid-19 continues to dominate the news with the U.S. reporting its third consecutive record in average daily cases and Europe imposing additional lockdowns.

While publicly traded equities were selling off on Covid-19 fears, privately held Whoop announced it raised $100 million in Series E funding at a $1.2 billion valuation. Whoop, which sells fitness trackers and offers a monthly subscription plan, has actually seen a boost in sales as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The membership, which begins at $30 per month, includes the Whoop Strap 3.0 for monitoring vitals such as sleep and movements as well as a coaching platform. The company says customers who wear the device for more than one year experience longer and more consistent sleep, improved physiology and enhanced physical performance.

"We will continue to make Whoop the best product experience for measuring and improving health," Whoop Founder & CEO Will Ahmed said. "Human performance is a new category and Whoop has emerged as both the pioneer and market leader. We're proud to partner with IVP and other prominent investors who share our vision."

Whoop made the news earlier this year after PGA Tour player Nick Watney saw his respiratory rate jump on the Whoop app, prompting him to get a Covid-19 test. Watney tested positive despite not showing any of the symptoms. Whoop is even working with researchers from the likes of Harvard Medical School, Brigham Health, and CQUniversity to understand how its products could help with Covid-19.

The funding round was led by IVP and includes a handful of notable athletes such as Kevin Durant, Patrick Mahomes, Eli Manning and Rory McIlroy. SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Two Sigma Ventures are among the notable participating investors in the round.

Whoop has now raised more than $200 million since its founding and has more than 330 employees, with more than 200 of them hired this year. The funds will be used to improve the membership through additional coaching tools and to expand globally.

"I've always loved Whoop the product, but I learned that Whoop the business was just as good. I'm proud to be investing again in this round of financing and very excited about the company's prospects," McIlroy said.

As Whoop becomes the latest member of the unicorn club, it's the latest example of money flowing into the health and fitness space following the likes of Peloton and Lululemon's $500 million acquisition of Mirror.

Leftover Crumbs

  • Eli Lilly strikes antibody drug deal. Eli Lilly has agreed to a $375 million deal with the U.S. government to provide 300,000 doses of its experimental Covid-19 antibody treatment following an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. The deal gives the U.S. government the option to purchase 650,000 additional doses through June 30. "Lilly has leveraged our deep scientific capability to fight this pandemic and we are proud of our efforts to develop potential medicines to combat Covid-19,” Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks said.

  • CoreLogic receives takeover interest. Property data and analytics company CoreLogic has been approached by multiple suitors with potential takeover offers valuing the company at $80 per share or higher. "In light of recent market speculation, CoreLogic today confirmed it is engaging with third parties indicating preliminary interest based on public information in the potential acquisition of the company at a value at or above $80 per share," CoreLogic said. "No decision has been made to enter into a transaction at this time."

  • Boeing announces more job cuts. Boeing announced it will lay off more employees as the total layoffs this year will now be nearly double originally anticipated. Boeing previously said it would cut 10% of its total workforce, but with the latest announcement will now reduce the number of employees to 130,000 by the end of the year from 161,000 at the beginning of the year, marking a reduction of 19%. A Boeing spokesperson said the company expects "corporate functions and commercial airplane and services businesses to be most affected."

  • Will Apple develop a search engine? Apple is reportedly looking into building its own search engine as its relationship with Google comes under fire as Google faces antitrust allegations from the U.S. Department of Justice. It's estimated by the DOJ that Google pays Apple $8 billion to $12 billion per year to make Google the default search engine on iPhones. John Giannandrea, who joined Apple just over two years ago after serving as head of search at Google, may spearhead the project according to the report.

  • Coinbase launches the Coinbase Card. Coinbase announced customers in the U.S. can now join the waitlist for the Coinbase Card, which is a Visa debit card that offers crypto payments and purchases as well as ATM cash withdrawals. Similar to other cards, customers can earn rewards such as 4% back in Stellar Lumens or 1% back in Bitcoin. "Today's announcement is another step forward in the real-world applications of cryptocurrency as it enables more options for Coinbase customers in the US to utilize their holdings," Coinbase said.