Should Whoop buy Polar? Whoop gets $200m

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whoop 3 review strap 2019 2020 reddit membership bicepSeries F Funding Round Sees Whoop Raise $200m

Whoop is now valued at a staggering $3.6billion based on the details of an investment of $200m by Japan-based Softbank Vision.

The company plans to use the funds to expand into new geographic markets (Australia, France, Germany, Spain and probably Japan), to further invest in R&D, membership offerings and, interestingly, to make acquisitions. That raises the question, “Who should Whoop buy?“. Answers below, please!

Must Read: Detailed Whoop Review

Should Whoop Buy Polar?

Whoop will already have been undertaking R&D to improve the existing sensor which is now several years old. Even though the current version is named 3.0, my understanding is that the sensor module is essentially unchanged from the original.

I appreciate I will get comments below about the accuracy of the Whoop sensor when worn on the wrist! However, it does produce reasonably accurate load data when worn on the upper arm and that is based on HR Zones. The raw accuracy of RR-beats (HRV) at rest, like most oHRMs is probably reasonable and this is where Whoop’s stress measurements come from. Indeed HRV accuracy is also derived from the ability of the algorithms to dial out noise rather than simply the ability to produce good HR tracks. Clearly, there are products that do the latter better than Whoop and the sensor in the Apple Watch 6 is the best in my experience…yep, better than Garmin!

Anyway, we’d all agree that Whoop 4.0 is overdue.

Polar Electro is a privately held company with a turnover of $177m (2019). Let’s take revenue as a proxy for a valuation and add a bit. So Maybe Polar is worth $200m. Considering that Whoop claims to still have funds left from their previous Funding round, they could perhaps buy Polar tomorrow as they have just banked $200m.

Overnight Whoop would get access to superior HR-related technology (Precision Prime and Verity Sense/OH1), oodles of complementary technology, the means of production and a great European distribution network (it’s less good elsewhere). I see a lot of complementarities between Whoop and Polar, indeed Whoop’s marketing is different from most tech companies, it’s based on celebrity investment/endorsement and it seems to have worked! Perhaps that kind of marketing would further boost the sales Polar’s sports and fitness offerings?

How would you spend $200m?

updated with source: D&B via PFA

Source: Reuters

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21 thoughts on “Should Whoop buy Polar? Whoop gets $200m

  1. I don’t think they should buy Polar, simply because Polar already has their own “school of thought” with regards to training load and recovery, and WHOOP and Polar are widely incompatible in that regard. I also doubt Polar’s OHR tech would be a good fit for WHOOP’s 24/7 measurements with expected battery life of 5 days+.

    But if you are into struggling Finnish companies… May I recommend Suunto? They have no training load or recovery philosophy to speak of, are exceptionally constrained on software side, yet have a great worldwide distribution network, not to mention just like WHOOP, Suunto is all about pushing things… In various directions.

    Don’t like weather in Finland in the winter? There’s COROS too. They do have TRIMP based training load of their own, but I think daily HRV recovery space and sleep tracking are still for grabs…

    Sadly, WHOOP won’t do any of that. Instead, they’d hire another dozen or two of influencer athletes and call it a day.

  2. I love this thought. Whoop’s HR accuracy is definitely one of the worst I’ve tested when worn on the wrist, and Polar brings so much to the table there.

    I do think Polar’s philosophy of HR accuracy and the fact that they fundamentally set every device to be able to connect to a chest strap or external monitor is problematic for Whoop, which allows none.

    But I do think that’s the fundamental flaw with Whoop, so would welcome the change if they can adopt the same approach, but doubting they will adjust that way.

    I think the Nightly Recharge meshes well with Whoop recovery Calc approach, although Polar’s is better IMO.

    Either way I love it for the simple fact that Whoop needs a major upgrade in the HR sensor department and Polar specializes in it!

  3. I guess they could source a low energy sensor array from China easily enough! Considerably less than $150m
    Suunto isn’t an option as they are now Chinese-owned too.

    Buying Polar gets patents, people, distribution, manufacturing, and a great brand

    (I think there’s a new Whoop coming out soon…like September 2021)

    1. I get a feeling Suunto’s new owners will be more than happy to sell for the right price. Otherwise, I can’t explain their continuous inability to hire a handful of additional developers to build out software side of the house. It looks like right now they are milking the brand for all its worth leaving it out to dry.

      1. it will be interesting to see where they take suunto 7…that’s a somewhat unique market proposition.

        i suspect their end game might be to do well in the far east markets, rather than compete head to head with garmin fenix on features

        1. I would love to see enhancements here. Namely just battery life and primarily external sensor support. To date it’s my favorite AMOLED screen/watch – and would be great with wear os 3

          1. yeah, sadly it won’t come this year. Q3 next year by the looks of it as Fossil are not being allowed to release Wear OS 3 until then.

            am using wear os 3 now which is super quick on the samsung. it will be nice when finished 😉 (Apple beating quality)

          2. Jealous. I purchased the SGW4 in the hopes of doing a full testing of it as well, only to find out when I received it that Samsung has decided to no longer connect to iPhones for this model! I did not catch anyone relaying that small but highly valuable piece of information in any of the initial first glance is! You should’ve been in big bold letters.

          3. well the features on android are massively reduced and the feature on galaxy reduced.
            basically it’s only for a new galaxy smartphone if you want all the features

            i have used an old galaxy a5…4 years old. the links to Samsung Health don’t work!

            it IS A good watch…but….the above

        2. You mean Suunto 7 that opened proudly at $499 and is now down to $320, merely a year and a half later? Despite finally getting offline Spotify support? I think it will go the way of Polar M600, especially in light of Google and Samsung “WindowsPhoning” the rest of the Wear OS industry a la Microsoft / Nokia partnership.

          S7 is an amazing piece of tech, but just like S9P, it can’t compete in a market dominated by much more nimble players and backroom deals.

          1. Disagree! I think the S7 only failed in the fitness community because it couldn’t last longer than about 24 hours and does not connect to external sensors, namely a heart rate monitor chest strap. If they fix those two factors I think it would become a significant Watch that would not lose value so quickly. I have tested many different watches and that would be the watch that I would wear day to day if they would correct those issues. There are a TON of people that would love an AMOLED screen on a watch that goes at least 2.5-3 days and offers training load and recovery time features (Venu/Venu 2 does not) and connects to Bluetooth sensors. NO idea if that will ever occur with how they designed the S7 and their refusal to add external sensor support, but many of us would love to see it occur!

          2. IDK how well the S7 has done in the market. could have done well or not. IDK. @Nick’s point about the price could show that it is a response to poor sales or simply that it was overpriced to begin with.

            anyway, yes to your point, but the battery life issue is the holy grail. there is no magic solution that exists AFAIK (eg solid state)
            even the next gen batteries will only give 20% (for the sake of argument) extra life….that is only a step change and not a game changer.

            i think we will see that in a few weeks with the apple watch 7. the battery WILL have a bigger capacity than many expect, however it will mostly come because the watch is a mm or so bigger and so the battery will be bigger not massively more efficient.

          3. @ Fit Gear

            Venu 2 lasts 2-3 days, with several GPS workouts and always on display. It should last upward of 5 days if you don’t require AOD. Source: personal experience.

            Unlike S7, it has BLE and ANT+ sensors support, structured workouts, and ConnectIQ apps/fields, just to name a few differentiators. When connected to an iPhone, it offers almost exact smartwatch functionality as anything Wear OS (“almost” because for now you can still use apps like Keep or Todoist on your Wear OS 2 watch, until they pull support like Strava did).

            The only way for S7 to increase its battery life or get external sensors is really a new SoC. Which means it’s gonna be S7 v2, and just like Wear OS 3, it’s something that might happen in H2 2022 or maybe even in 2023. Notice that Polar never followed up with a sequel to M600, just saying…

          4. new SoC – yes probably. BUT I’m not sure that’s entirely easy as there only seem to be 2 suppliers…samsung and qualcomm and neither are close to that level of performance. even qualcomm’s wear5100 probably wont achieve that. i think apple are a way off that too.

          5. Re: how S7 is doing in the market… I think we can agree a discount of 35% following a release of refreshed hardware isn’t a sign of strong sales. The watch is down to the price range of other Wear OS devices, none of which feature Suunto’s fitness bits, nor offline maps, nor many other things that make S7 special.

            Fenix 6 has been out for at least half a year longer with no hardware changes to speak of, but continues to enjoy its original pricing, with sales happening a few times a year for very short periods of time.

            Now, S7 could have pivoted to its core audience by building out additional mapping features, external sensors support, and the like (even at a price of a “special mode” that drains battery), but that would have required… developers, developers, developers…

            It’s much cheaper to just slash the price instead, I suppose. As in a well-known business strategy: to maximize profits, you feed the cow less and milk more. What’s left can be sold for parts at $8.99/lbs.

          6. – fenix is a different league, and a different market (although with crossovers)
            – i suppose s7 is a similar market to what the alleged watch 8 (2022) rugged ‘explorer’ version will be. how many day-trip warriors need such an adventure watch? I guess many would find such a thing useful but how many would instead opt for a fenix that ticks all the boxes… and more
            – I’m not convinced that the external sensor support would help that much (although you and i would like it)
            – wear OS should go on to better things starting this/next year…let’s see if that helps suunto

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