The hedge fund billionaire Steven Cohen is putting money into the fitness start-up Mirror and joining its board — after its founder made a pitch to him during his workout.
Mr Cohen’s Point72 Ventures joined investors including the clothing company Lululemon, supermodel Karlie Kloss and media adviser LionTree in backing the New York-based start-up, which delivers fitness classes via a wall-mounted, internet-connected screen it calls the first “nearly invisible, interactive home gym”.
“I met Steve because he was a Mirror member and fan,” Mirror founder Brynn Putnam told the Financial Times. “Amusingly, I actually made my pitch to him while he was on the treadmill for his workout session.”
Point72 is leading a $34m funding round, which takes the amount Mirror has raised so far to $72m. The company declined to comment on the valuation the new money puts on Mrs Putnam’s company, but Delaware filings from April suggested Mirror aimed to sell shares valuing it at almost $300m.
The company also did not say how much of the $34m came from Mr Cohen. In a statement on Wednesday, it said it would use the proceeds to “expand into new areas and content verticals”.
Point72 Ventures — which invests money from Mr Cohen and employees of his $14.6bn hedge fund, Point72 Asset Management — has typically focused on fintech and artificial intelligence start-ups. Its investments include the personal finance app Acorns and Quantopian, a crowdsourced algorithmic trading fund.
Mr Cohen opened Point72 Asset Management to outside capital last year after serving a two-year ban from managing money for investors, part of a settlement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission over insider trading charges at his previous hedge fund. He was never personally charged with improper trading.
“Mr Cohen and Mrs Cohen believe that if you want to live a healthy life, you need to work out and Mirror helps people meet their fitness goals,” a Point72 spokesperson said. “They believe in this product.”
Mirror is one of several fast-growing start-ups aimed at the fitness industry. The company sells a $1,495 product — which appears to be a mirror when it is not streaming video fitness classes — with a celebrity following including Gwyneth Paltrow and other clients of the fitness trainer Tracy Anderson.
One of the sector’s leaders, Peloton, raised $1.2bn during an initial public offering last month before dropping more than 11 per cent on its first day of trading. The company’s shares are now trading about 20 per cent below the IPO price.
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