Rowing is an unbelievably efficient way to stay in shape, but it has two major drawbacks: it is boring and most people don't know how to do it properly. So says former U.S. National Rowing Team Bruce Smith, which is why he was inspired to found Hydrow, an immersive at-home rowing machine and streaming training program.
"As a coach for elite athletes, I had to learn a lot about physiology and how to improve people's performance, and I learned that when people sit on a bike, they have to spend literally twice as long to get the same benefit as rowing," Smith told Entrepreneur. "Rowing is the best-kept secret in 'whole health' and so I wanted to build a company that wasn't just an exercise company, but one that helped tap into that amazing feeling of flow you get out on the water," he says. "You put those two things together and it is like peanut butter and chocolate."
The Hydrow Wave ($1,495) is a sleek and relatively compact machine that has a 16-inch touchscreen where rowers can access thousands of coached workouts or freeform POV videos that simulate rowing everywhere from Boston to Switzerland. "With a fun and engaging training program that you can watch and learn from, we believe in the next five or 10 years, we're going to outsell both bikes and treadmills," says Smith.
Entrepreneur sat down (and rowed!) with the founder and CEO to learn how he turned his big idea into a business that experienced 300% growth last year. Check out the above video to learn how he tackled every aspect of the launch, from concept to design to delivery, and was able to break out in a crowded at-home exercise market. (Watch to the end to see if Entrepreneur's interviewer keels over at the end of the interview/workout!)