sports.gifAre VCs feeling out of shape, or is there really an opportunity here?

Recently, venture capitalists Bill Stensrud invested in Sunnyvale start-up company called Expresso Fitness, which the Merc wrote about (see extended entry below).

Now VentureWire (sub req) tells us Sports Potential, a Menlo Park sports science and education company, has raised a $3.25 million second round.

Investors in the round include a host of individuals from venture capital firms, private equity firms and technology companies…

…Through an analysis of capabilities based on a set of physical, physiological and behavioral traits and preferences, Sports Potential claims it provides individuals of all skill and fitness levels with insight regarding their potential within different sports and disciplines.


Published: Monday, May 2, 2005 Edition: Morning Final Section: Tech Monday Page: 2E

Illustration: Photo


Who says riding an exercise bike has to be an exercise in boredom?
The Spark System exercise bike from Expresso Fitness in Sunnyvale has a built-in flat TV display that entertains riders at the gym. The liquid-crystal display shows animations of the cyclist’s view of scenic bike paths, creating the feeling that you’re riding through an alpine forest or a coastal highway.

Brian Button, chief executive of Expresso Fitness, says the product came from out-of-work telecommunications engineers looking for work after the big bust. Right now, the Spark System is targeted for gyms that want to offer an extra boost to their members. When riders can pretend that they’re in the Tour de France, they can get more out of the exercise. Button says the simulated bike trails are tied closely to the bike. If you start climbing a hill, you have to downshift the bike and pedal much harder.

The bike has a small personal computer in its base and can create cool animations. So far, there are 18 tracks for riders to navigate, with more than 100 miles of terrain to view. The bike sells for $4,795. It is available locally at Club Sport in Pleasanton, Supreme Court in Sunnyvale, the Bay Club Bank of America Center in San Francisco and Basics Gym in Napa.

For more information, go to

Caption: PHOTO: [bike]

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