Perch, an MIT-developed technology that is helping a growing number of professional and collegiate athletic programs improve overall performance in the weight room and on the field, today announced the raise of a $4 million financing round. This brings the total amount raised by the company to $6 million since the company’s founding in 2017.
The series seed-plus round included investment from Bradley Bloom, Ledgeways Ventures LLC, and a co-founder of Berkshire Partners LLC, along with Perfect Game Capital, a Washington, D.C. area family office that specializes in sports and sports technology investments.
Among the new investors is also Miami Dolphins cornerback Byron Jones, who said, “Perch helps me train smarter. It enables me to see my weight room performance, my lifting speed and power, on every rep of every set, allowing me to reach my training goals without overexerting myself in an already physically demanding sport. I’m excited to see Perch continue to innovate as they revolutionize the way free weight lifting is measured.”
Perch will use the funds raised to continue providing best in class support and services for its fast-growing and high-profile customer base, including nearly one-third of NFL teams, as well as teams in the NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS and NCAA. In addition, the financing will enable Perch to continue to enhance their core data collection software, while building out features that will enable coaches and athletes to get more value out of the data collected. Finally, the capital will support further expansion into other markets such as the U.S. military, fitness and performance facilities, international sport, high schools and home gyms across the country.
The financing follows a period of remarkable growth, as demand for Perch’s technology has skyrocketed over the past couple of years. Their growth was further accelerated by COVID-19, when coaches and trainers were looking to safely return their athletes to play, and despite the recent economic uncertainty, Perch’s growth shows no signs of slowing.
“In just a few years, Perch has become the go-to leader in velocity-based training technology, partnering with teams such as the Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, Georgia Bulldogs Football, Maryland Terps Football, Columbus Crew and University of Virginia Men’s Basketball, among numerous others,” said Perch co-founder Jacob Rothman. “We are thrilled by the support of ambitious, successful investors who see the disruptive potential of Perch. With this new influx of capital, we can continue to build the team and resources necessary to expand our global reach.”
The idea for Perch came shortly after Rothman, a former MIT varsity athlete, herniated a disc in his back during a routine workout. While recovering from his injury, he started to brainstorm ideas for a device that could help athletes better quantify workouts in the weight room to prevent injury and improve overall performance. He teamed up with two other athletes on campus – Nate Rodman and Jordan Lucier – and they began spending nights building, designing and testing different prototypes in MIT’s machine shops. Merely five years later, the trio was recognized as inventive entrepreneurs shaping the future of the sports industry in Forbes magazine’s 2021 30 Under 30 list.
So what is Perch? And why is it generating so much attention?
Hardly a foot long and a few inches wide, Perch is a 3D camera that fastens to any weight rack with a couple of Velcro straps. An athlete walks up, logs in into a tablet and starts lifting. While they lift, the 3D camera tracks their movements and instantaneously displays important metrics such as sets, reps, velocity, and power output on the tablet. Players and coaches can then access the data via a web and mobile application after the workout. The data is also stored and saved in Perch’s web application to best monitor how to approach future workouts.
“What we’re doing is essentially making a weight rack smart,” said Rothman. “We aim to turn every athlete into the best version of themselves. We bring them information about the quality of their movement and what they can do to move more powerfully, efficiently and safely.”
Soon after the Maryland Terrapins Football installed Perch devices in their new state-of-the-art performance center, Director of Strength & Training Ryan Davis said the technology “has been the single biggest influence on our program.”
Prior to the start of its inaugural season in April, the reborn United States Football League (USFL) had devices installed on the weight racks in their training facility at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex, where all eight teams and 400 active players workout. “Perch fundamentally changed the way our players lifted by giving them immediate data regarding their quality of movement and keeping them progressing towards our collective goals,” said Director of Sports Performance Zac Woodfin.
Founded in 2017 by three former student athletes at MIT, Perch uses cameras and machine learning to monitor movements during exercise and enhance an athlete’s motivation, safety and performance in the weight room. Today, Perch is helping a growing number of players and coaches – including those in the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS, and Power Five conferences – improve overall performance in the weight room and on the field. The company’s scope has also expanded to various military bases, fitness and performance facilities, and a growing number of high schools across the country.
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