Virtugo shutting down

Kind of posting this tongue in cheek, obviously. TR can acquire and put workouts on this platform and then organize virtual rides. TR guys, you can pay me later for the awesome idea!

On less jokey note, I tried and it just didn’t look good on my ancient PC.


No tongue in cheek required, this could be the opportunity for TR that may never come again.

Definitely worth looking into how much that IP would cost. Though due to the nature of this product it’s not something you could simply buy/license then sit on until conditions arose. It would need considerable development from the getgo to even stand a chance at any point in the future.

Investors would buy in with TRs existing users as an easily converted subscription base however. This is a significantly easier sell than VirtuGos proposition.

My thoughts:
Development for a game (visual worlds) is very expensive and not in TR’s core competency. Integrating TR workouts into the virtual world may/may not be complicated but running that world would be. Many new employees would have to be on-boarded very quickly (it’s possible the old team could come over, but I don’t know where they’re located or if they work distributed). Lots of logistics issues, chemistry issues, re-org issues for the relatively small TR team.

Even if TR could enter into a deal that would require no upfront, would that investment (infrastructure, human resources) be justified by new users?

If you’re Zwift only, do you now go to TR? I doubt it - it would take TR a long time (and $) to be able to scale up and compete against Zwift’s core: racing/outdoor ride replacement.

If I’m TR only, then having this makes training less boring perhaps, but I wasn’t going to leave anyway, so no added revenue. If I’m using something other than Zwift or TR, will this be enough for me to switch over? I don’t think so. Each product has a clear position in the market and the best training product (TR) + somewhat ok game world does not necessarily mean more revenue. Unless VirtuGo makes TR’s training-focused positioning so much better, hard to justify the change.

I don’t think it makes sense for TR to go in the direction of virtual worlds and such.

However, as I’ve said before - I strongly believe TR needs to find ways for their platform to become more social and connected. I’ve often floated the idea of being able to do Peloton-style group workouts where you see the leader/coach (specifically Coach Troy, but there are plenty of great engaging people that TR has connections with). It drives commitment to the platform, and as Peloton has shown - it’s wildly good at retaining users. Nobody has the 95%+ subscriber rates Peloton does. There’s a reason for that.

As many people have pointed out before, it’s only a matter of time before Zwift decides to set aside a few million dollars and invest more deeply in their structured training aspects. They’ve spent tens of millions of dollars on the underlying platform (just as TR has) for all behind the scenes stuff like connecting to trainers, processing files, controlling units, etc… Even their workout functionality is there and already used by more people than TR has users.

What Zwift is missing is a good structured training program and path, and a way to show how you’re making progress against that path. And perhaps even a Coach Troy like personality to add credibility to it all. But those aren’t expensive in the grand scheme of things. Zwift spent more on their big screen TV at Eurobike this year than TR would likely spend to buy out their HQ facility (not kidding). Zwift

Zwift hired people like Jordan Rapp who come from that kind of background. As they get pushed harder from investors around growth rates they continue to miss, they’ll eventually look over their shoulder at TR and go ‘Huh…we can spent $2-5M and probably get half their users by doing X & Y’, and then boom.

I’d really encourage folks to read carefully between the lines of some of what I wrote in that VirtuGo piece, specifically some of the quotes from the founder. And especially around marketing spend within the industry and effectively blocking others. It’s a very real thing and is going to only increase in pressure on TR going forward.