Peloton Acquires Voice Tech Startup Aiqudo
Peloton Interactive has acquired industrial voice tech startup Aiqudo, according to a report in Bloomberg and confirmed by Voicebot through a source with knowledge of the transaction. Aiqudo, the developer of a white-label voice assistant for consumer and industrial use, was acquired in February for its technology and its team, many of whom are already listed as working for Peloton on LinkedIn.
Aiqudo was one of a trio of tech firms picked up by Peloton over the last few months for an unrevealed price. Peloton’s fitness tech is best known for the eponymous stationary bike and related virtual workout classes. The company also picked up Atlas Wearables, the maker of fitness-focused smartwatches used to measure exercise, and Otari, which created a smart workout mat with a built-in screen.
The value to Peloton of the technology and talent behind these companies seems fairly obvious, especially when considered as a whole. As Peloton looks to diversify and expand its fitness tech portfolio, applying the bike class model to a smart mat or providing a smartwatch to monitor health while active, and generating a voice assistant to interact with users when live shows aren’t an option. Peloton has hinted at a long-term plan for a wide range of fitness tools, with strength training and rowing machines on the near-term list. A smart mat and wearable could fit into that framework too.
Peloton’s first interest in Aiqudo came as a potential customer of the software. Voicebot was told in 2020 that an Aiqudo engineer was said to have integrated the software into the app of a Peloton rival to show how the workout experience could be enhanced by adding voice interaction. A video of that experience initiated conversations about implementing the software into Peloton’s apps and services. Those talks eventually transitioned from everyday software purchase to outright company acquisition.
Aiqudo had a very promising year even before the acquisition. In the summer of last year, Aiqudo announced that it was working to bring its voice AI tech to the enterprise AI and computing firm mCloud Technologies’ tech ecosystem. The plan was to start including Aiqudo’s Q Actions and Action Kit SDK into mCloud’s AssetCare platform as well as integrating it into RealWear head-mounted smart glasses worn by workers in some industries.
The company had also begun supporting the native voice assistant in cars built by Chinese electric carmaker Byton. Using Aiqudo’s Voice to Action platform, Byton’s cars incorporate a voice assistant awakened by “Hey Byton” and was set to power the Byton voice assistant behind the scenes, with the driver saying “Hey Byton” to awaken the voice assistant. Along with running environmental and entertainment aspects of the car, the voice assistant was designed to handle shopping and making financial transactions while driving by employing mobile apps adapted for voice interaction by third-party developers using Aiqudo’s Action Kit. Rajat Mukherjee, an Aiqudo co-founder and CTO, David Patterson, Aiqudo’s chief science officer, was previously CEO of Sophia, an advanced search software company, that Aiqudo acquired in 2016.