Bloomberg — HighPost Capital, the consumer sector-focused private equity firm co-founded by Jeff Bezos’s younger brother, has made its first health and wellness bet.
HighPost, led by David Moross and Mark Bezos, has acquired Centr, the digital fitness platform founded by Australian actor Chris Hemsworth, best known for portraying Marvel comic book hero “Thor”. HighPost also acquired Inspire Fitness, a maker of free weights, rowing machines and other exercise equipment, and will fold it into Centr.
The combined company is valued at more than $200 million including debt, according to people with knowledge of the matter, and counts Hemsworth as its second-largest shareholder behind HighPost. Cerberus Business Finance LLC, a lending platform that’s part of Cerberus Capital Management, provided debt financing.
“I started Centr in 2019 with a vision to share my health, wellness and fitness experience with a broader community,” Hemsworth said in an interview. After fielding more questions about his fitness regime than his acting roles, the 38-year-old realized he had an opportunity to develop a platform with a global reach. “I pulled together people who helped me build the best version of myself, and it’s been an incredible journey being able to share knowledge that I’ve been fortunate enough to absorb,” said Hemsworth, describing the transaction with HighPost as a “melding of minds.”
“We see an opportunity to take Centr, which is already very profitable, to the next level,” Moross said in an interview, declining to provide specifics. He referenced potential growth stemming from the synergies of combining the Centr app -- which provides workout, nutrition and mindfulness content such as training programs and meal plans to more than 200,000 subscribers around the world -- with Inspire’s equipment, as consumers continue to replicate the gym experience at home.
“Our model shows subscribers growing to 700,000 in four years, but I think it’s going to be much bigger than that,” Moross said, citing the potential to capture a fraction of Hemsworth’s roughly 85 million combined followers across social media platforms. While the company already has traction in North America and Australia, geographies it hopes to expand in include Southeast Asia and Europe, Moross said. Centr is led by chairman Scott Dickey and executives including Inspire President Jeff Laborde.
Melbourne-born Hemsworth said Centr -- named after a conscious effort to center his focus when being pulled in different directions -- plans to add content in languages such as Spanish, the native tongue of his wife Elsa Pataky, who already leads workouts on the app. “Our excitement is at an all-time high,” Hemsworth said. “There are endless options in terms of what we can provide customers, in how we can improve.”
To be sure, not all Centr’s users are trying to achieve Hemsworth’s physique -- he says the majority aren’t looking to build muscle, rather that they are seeking to achieve longevity and overall fitness through curated functional workouts such as body weight and equipment-based circuit training.
“I’m so passionate about my film career, but I love being more involved in the health and wellness space -- it’s what excites me and I want to put everything in it and make it a main focus,” Hemsworth said.