May 18, 2020
A lifelong rower and former coach of the U.S. National Team, Hydrow CEO and Founder Bruce Smith now wants to share the physically and mentally transformative experience that has drawn him to the water—and keeps him there on a nearly daily basis.
According to The Boston Globe, Smith’s Cambridge, Massachusetts-based startup sent out its first customer shipment one year ago—a specially designed rowing machine offering live-streamed on-screen experiences that make the indoor athlete feel as if he or she is navigating on the Charles River, along with the instructor.
And the pandemic actually has been a wellspring for Hydro’s business. Sales of its machines in April were four times those of January, Smith says.
Last May, Hydrow started shipping its $2,200 rowing machine to about a thousand customers who had put in pre-orders. It also announced around that time that it had raised $27 million in venture capital funding.
The following month, Best Buy started selling the device. Like a traditional rowing machine, it offers resistance to simulate the effort of pulling oars through the water as your seat slides back and forth. But unlike old-school “ergs,” or ergometers, Hydrow connects to the Internet and has a large flat-screen display.
The library includes trips to London, Scotland, San Francisco Bay; and Austin, Texas. During the winter, the company broadcasts live rowing sessions from Miami; in the summer, it relocates to Boston.
Finally, for those who do not want to purchase a new machine, Hydrow also makes a mobile app that you can use with a smartphone or tablet, to bring its prerecorded clinics to a rowing machine you already own.
Research contact: @BostonGlobe