NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--PingPod®, the 24/7 autonomous Table-Tennis-On-Demand® concept with three NYC locations currently open, three more in the pipeline, and a Philadelphia location set to launch this spring, has raised $10 million in a Series A funding round led by Sequoia Heritage. KittyHawk Ventures and Draper Gain Family Office also participated in the round.
“Since opening our first location in February 2020, we’ve seen rapid growth with over 35,000 reservations made on our system and north of 13,000 customer sign-ups,” said Max Kogler, PingPod co-founder and CEO. “Table tennis is among the top 10 sports in terms of participation and popularity worldwide and a fast-growing sport in the US. It is PingPod’s mission to enable and accelerate that growth by making table tennis affordable and accessible to all.”
Table tennis has existed for over 100 years but has experienced very little innovation and is widely perceived as a parlor game, especially in the US. By building a network of accessible, self-serve pods, PingPod has been able to unlock demand while keeping operating costs low. PingPod uses technology to make the booking process easier and enhance the playing experience with digital features such as instant replay and automated scoreboards. “Podifying” the sport has brought new, casual players to table tennis.
PingPod’s innovative business model attracted Sequoia Heritage and other investors by addressing one of the main issues with recreational sports and gym facilities – high labor costs. The autonomous setup (no onsite employees) reduces labor costs dramatically through creative use of technology. Reservations are made through a web-app (iOS mobile app launching soon), entry comes via remote-access technology, and 24/7 security and surveillance is handled currently by outside specialists.
“PingPod was resilient throughout COVID because our autonomous setup allows customers to enjoy an already socially distant sport in a contactless fashion. Coming out of the pandemic, we’re seeing sign-up and volume growth accelerate as people emerge from their homes looking for fun, fitness-related activities to do. We are more confident than ever that we’ll find ample demand as we open new locations across different neighborhoods and cities,” says David Silberman, co-founder and CFO.
PingPod launched in 2020 on the Lower East Side in New York City, adding a second location on West 37th Street in 2021. It was started by three partners: Ernesto Ebuen, a preeminent coach/player formerly ranked #1 in the US; Max Kogler, former COO/CFO of Super Soccer Stars; and David Silberman, creator of the PingPod concept. PingPod is headquartered in New York City.
How PingPod works: Register and reserve online, show up and play. Suitable for everyone from beginner to expert, PingPod offers paddles and balls, plus professional coaching, partner-finding, kids’ classes, events, league play, tournaments, and a robust Slack community. Want to record your amazing shot? Just push the Replay button at each table; you’ll get it by email.