Kiwi tech startup FitXR booms during COVID-19 pandemic

As companies across the world are cutting costs, scaling back, and sacking staff because of the COVID-19 downturn, one Kiwi start-up in the UK is doing the opposite. 

FitXR creates virtual reality fitness games and is the brain-child of Aucklander Sam Cole who launched the company in 2016. 

"We really want to be the leading provider of immersive fitness content and we want to be able to deliver that to people whether that's at home, in the gym, or at the park," Cole told Newshub. 

The company has grown steadily over the years, but the COVID-19 pandemic has seen sales jump significantly due to gyms being forced to close. 

"With the pandemic, people have been looking for alternative ways to workout at home," he says. 

But it's not just the number of users that are on the up, it's FitXR's workforce too - no mean feat during a lockdown with proper in-person interviews banned. 

"We've more than doubled the team since lockdown and we would have tripled it by the end of the year," says Cole.

"We've had to recruit and on-board a huge number of people recently without even meeting them face-to-face which has been an interesting challenge."

FitXR doesn't manufacture the headsets, just the software which plays inside. Currently, boxing is the only activity available but they'll roll out new workouts as they grow which users can buy on a pay-as-you-go basis. 

"At an early stage, boxing was the most compelling of the concepts for us to focus on. Now we've got some great investors on board and it's been able to fuel the team growth" he says. 

As for moving the company back to New Zealand, that's certainly a possibility. 

"Ultimately we'd like to go back to New Zealand, my wife and I. But at the moment we're really established in the UK," he adds. 

And for those wondering, the "XR" part of the name stands for 'extended reality'.