Here is another fitness-related company, operating in a special niche of a growing market, that has obtained a high valuation in its latest round of financing. Hyperice, a U.S.-based specialist in muscle recovery systems, has been valued at around $700 million in a new Series A $48 million investment round led by Main Street Advisors (MSA) and SC Holdings, along with Kelly Slater, Naomi Osaka and about 15 other athletes who have been using its technology. The National Basketball Association (NBA) and 32 Equity, the investment arm of the National Football League (NFL), are also named among the new investors in Hyperice.

The company is said to be very profitable on sales that are in line to reach a level of about $200 million this year, around double the turnover attained in 2019 after continued double-digit increases. In addition to strong sales since the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic struck, a big boost came earlier this year from its acquisition of NormaTec, a company that has developed a popular leg recovery system used by LeBron James and other professional athletes.

Anthony Katz, who founded Hyperice in 2010, had the good idea to bring in well-known athletes like the Olympic ski champion Lindsey Vonn and the NBA star Blake Griffin as minority investors from the very beginning. They have also been acting as ambassadors for the brand. Another early investor was Steve Veytia, a veteran of the sporting goods industry who served as its chief executive from 2012 to 2015.

Hyperice was one of the start-ups selected for participation in the Ispo Brandnew exhibition in January 2014. Veytia set up a temporary European operation at the time for Hyperice, bringing in a French tennis champion, Guy Forget, and a football champion, Bixente Lizarazu, as co-investors. The European operation was subsequently merged into the U.S. company, which then handed over the business to territorial distributors, but Hyperice recently set up a European office in Barcelona to take a more direct role in the market. The company has also a partnership in Asia.

Under the management of Jim Huether, who became the CEO in 2015, Hyperice has moved from ice compression systems for muscle recovery to more sophisticated percussion and vibration therapy devices. Following a vertical business model, it has been developing the direct-to-consumer channel more than the traditional wholesale channel, while partnering with sports trainers, physiotherapists and other actors in the growing sports technology market, which is said to have an annual sales potential of $30 billion by 2024.

Like other more recent fitness start-ups, Hyperice has also invested in connected fitness, an area that it wants to develop further by building on its HyperSmart app with the help of artificial intelligence. The latest equity increase will also go toward supporting the company’s international expansion.