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Cristiano Ronaldo Backs Wearable Tech Start-Up Whoop ahead of Gulf Expansion

Cristiano Ronaldo, the globally renowned footballer, has made a significant investment in the wearable technology start-up Whoop, which is accelerating its international expansion into the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region.

While the exact amount of Ronaldo's investment remains undisclosed, Whoop CEO Will Ahmed revealed to The National that it is "one of the largest if not the largest investment he's made in a company." This strategic move highlights Ronaldo's confidence in Whoop’s potential and products. Ahmed noted that Ronaldo approached the company for a partnership after extensive research, reflecting his strong belief in their vision and capabilities.

Whoop has experienced remarkable growth over the past year, with increasing international interest. The company, which already operates a warehouse facility in the UAE, is expanding its shipping services to Brazil, India, and Mexico. Additionally, Whoop is enhancing its devices to include Arabic support, further catering to its growing customer base in the GCC.

The investment from Ronaldo will be utilized to develop new products and services, and to enhance user engagement, according to the Boston-based company. Founded in 2012, Whoop offers comprehensive training, health, sleep, and recovery services. To date, it has raised approximately $405 million through eight funding rounds, with notable investments from Japan’s SoftBank Vision Fund and UAE71 Capital.

Despite this influx of capital, Whoop is not currently seeking additional funding, although it may revisit this decision next year. Ahmed emphasized that the company is well-positioned for growth with a robust balance sheet.

Ronaldo, 39, currently plays for Al Nassr in the Saudi Pro League and boasts an illustrious career with Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Juventus. He is a five-time UEFA Champions League and Ballon d'Or winner, holding numerous records at both club and international levels. Joining other high-profile Whoop investors such as NFL quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Eli Manning, golfer Rory McIlroy, and swimmer Michael Phelps, Ronaldo’s involvement is expected to significantly boost Whoop’s brand recognition.

Ronaldo’s extensive endorsement portfolio includes high-profile deals with Nike, Emporio Armani, Tag Heuer, Herbalife, and Binance. His CR7 brand has expanded into various ventures including hotels, clothing, perfumes, gyms, and even a mobile selfie application. In partnership with tennis star Rafael Nadal, he also opened the Italian restaurant Toto in Abu Dhabi.

Whoop aims to carve out a significant niche in the health metrics and human performance industry, competing with major players like Apple, Samsung, and Fitbit. By focusing on core health tracking, data accuracy, and privacy, Whoop differentiates itself from competitors that offer a broader range of features.

The fitness tracker market is poised for substantial growth, projected to reach $116.5 billion by 2028 from an estimated $57.8 billion in 2024, according to Research and Markets. Ronaldo expressed confidence that his partnership with Whoop would further enhance its features and coaching capabilities, setting new benchmarks in the industry.


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