Gym Class, a virtual reality app that combines the fitness and entertainment aspects of real-world basketball, has raised $8 million in a seed round led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from Y Combinator. Gym Class has had nearly 1 million downloads on Meta’s Quest App Lab.
Meta introduced App Lab in 2021; it’s a new method of app distribution that lets players install non-Oculus Store games and apps onto their VR headsets. Since its launch, the Quest platform has operated with a strict curation policy. The Quest Store is the official avenue for finding and installing apps on your headset. Game developers must submit pitches to Meta to make their content available on the store. Gym Class is set to launch on the Meta Quest Store in the fall.
“Gym Class is more than a game, it’s a digital sport,” Paul Katsen, co-founder and chief product officer of Gym Class, said in a statement. “It lets you dunk like a pro, become a basketball star, watch, compete, cheer, and get involved in the whole experience of the sport. Just like with real sports, we believe digital sports will see thriving global communities, leagues, entertainment and events, fashion, commerce, fitness, and more.”
Gym Class’ founders Matthew Harris, Justin Hubert and Katsen joined forces in 2019 to build a social experience through digital sports, leveraging their consumer, virtual reality and gaming backgrounds. Harris has led VR and gaming teams for years; Hubert was previously at Walmart building VR commerce applications; and Katsen led Twitter’s home timeline product.
Gym Class features realistic basketball mechanics, avatars, and immersive environments. Players can connect and play games on a customizable digital court or simply socialize.
“We are convinced that games, virtual worlds and digital sports will be the new social networks,” Andrew Chen, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, said in a release. “Gym Class signals the dawn of digital sports. It has the traction and has the right team behind it to realize the true potential of social VR. We are strong believers in the vision and the team who have already proven Gym Class has a massive audience and opportunity.”