Can AI and machine learning improve the quality of your workout routine? As the wearable AI market climbs to $180 billion, Tempo (previously Pivot), is betting that it can. Today, the startup launched a $1,995 AI-powered home fitness system (with a $200 down deposit and $35 monthly subscription) that will begin shipping in Summer 2020. CEO and cofounder Moawia Eldeeb claims it’s the first weight training solution that counts reps and calories burned, recommends weights, and makes real-time technique corrections.
“In my own life, having access to trainers who could teach, inspire, and hold me accountable made all the difference,” said Eldeeb. “A workout video, even if it’s broadcast live, just doesn’t compare — be it through a TV, laptop, or phone. That’s why Tempo is building technology to bridge the gap between you and the trainer, build that core relationship, and deliver the same hands-on guidance and motivation you’d expect from an in-person experience.”
Tempo — which has $17.5 million in series A funding contributed by Founders Fund, Khosla Ventures, DCM, Bling Capital, Khosla Ventures, Signal Fire, Y-Combinator, and others — says its device’s 3D infrared sensors can scan users’ movements 30 times per second for performance tracking and form feedback. It packs a 42-inch touchscreen display and comes with “competition-grade” barbells, dumbbells, and change plates that range from 7.5 pounds to 100 pounds, along with accessories like a workout mat and recovery roller in a free-standing industrial design.
Tempo’s machine learning algorithms help plan workouts tailored to an individual user’s progress. During live classes, instructors are notified when a mistake is made, enabling them to provide guidance in real time. To further motivate fitness enthusiasts, a live leaderboard allows them to compete with friends and others and to request personalized weight recommendations that take into account their overall experience level.
Tempo’s alluded-to classes — which are available live and on-demand and led by National Academy of Sports Medicine-certified trainers — combine traditional weight lifting with high-intensity training intervals (HIIT) for full-body workouts based on accepted sports science principles. Optional trainer-curated programs deliver a sequence of courses designed to target different muscle groups daily, while algorithms track progress to inform the system’s real-time feedback features.
Above: The Tempo trainer experience.
The version of Tempo’s software that will ship to early adopters can recognize bicep curls, seated shoulder presses, lunges, front squats, bent over rows, hammer curls, and other exercises while simultaneously collating data to show users how recent performances compared with past performances. It’s powered by a data set captured by Tempo’s successor system, SmartSpot, which contains over 1 million tagged workout sessions.
Tempo notes that analysts recently pegged the U.S. fitness industry at $30 billion and that the popularity of boutique fitness classes has grown 10 times in the last five years. The startup will compete with better-funded rivals like Peloton, which in August 2019 raised $550 million at a valuation of $4 billion to further develop its range of web-connected home fitness equipment and content, and Tonal, which last April raised $45 million for its AI-powered in-home fitness system. Meanwhile, Vi raked in $20 million to expand availability of its earbuds and AI-powered running coach products.
But backers like DCM partner Kyle Lui assert that Pivot’s proprietary software and machine learning technology will give it a leg up on the competition.
“Tempo’s product differentiation was clear to me the first time I tried it, and I’m incredibly excited for the company’s launch,” said Lui. “Tempo’s technology combines world-class machine learning, software, and hardware to create an at-home weight training and fitness experience comparable to what Peloton has achieved for at-home spin.”
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