Oura Hires Top Peloton Marketer as First Marketing Director to Embed “Smart Rings”



The maker of a smart ring popular with celebrities, athletes and wellness advocates has hired one of Peloton’s top marketers to become its first chief marketing officer.

Oura, who helps people track sleep and other biometric data, hired Karina Kogan to develop the company’s marketing strategy. Kogan joined Peloton prior to its IPO and in 2019 was promoted to global product marketing manager for the company, where she oversaw bikes, treadmills and digital products.

As Oura’s marketing team has grown from 5 to 25 over the past few years, Kogan is joining us in a year of massive growth. Earlier this year, the company raised $ 100 million in a Series C cycle with plans to expand beyond sleep tracking to track other types of wellbeing metrics. So far, Oura has raised $ 148.3 million in funding and has sold 500,000 rings that each sell for between $ 300 and $ 400.

“You might wonder what kind of person jumps out of a mid-air rocket,” Kogan says. “And I guess the answer to that is the kind of person who actually enjoys building a rocket as much as they love piloting it.”

Over the past few years, Oura has made a name for itself in the entertainment, business and sports world. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey, media mogul Arianna Huffington and The Honest Company founder Jessica Alba are some of the powerful people with Oura rings. Other famous users include actress Jennifer Anniston, Jimmy Kimmel, Kim Kardashian, Prince Harry, and Gwyneth Paltrow. Oura also has a number of partnerships in the sports world, including the NBA, WNBA and UFC.

So what exactly does Oura’s ring do in the first place? In addition to automatically tracking sleep and recording over 30 different activities, the company claims it can track heart rate and body temperature with a high degree of accuracy to even predict when someone gets sick or perhaps even when they are pregnant. For example, a peer-reviewed study from the University of California, San Francisco published in December 2020 found that Oura rings identified fevers in 38 of 50 participants even before symptoms.

According to Oura CEO Harpreet Singh Rai, Kogan’s experience in bridging material and content will help the company “double down” on both. While at the start of Peloton Fitness Tech, Kogan says she increased the number of digital subscriptions by over 500% and also launched the Bike + and Tread products, including campaigns that grew by 113 % connected fitness subscriptions.

“The future of healthcare is not just this technology,” says Singh Rai. “The future of health is you. I don’t know if it’s personalization or education. It is really consumers who realize that they have the power to change themselves.

The biggest challenge in marketing something like Oura is communicating the benefits of the ring and “unboxing the science” in a way that is accessible to ordinary people, according to Kogan. However, Oura doesn’t just want to focus on tracking – she is also developing a content strategy to help people change their habits and understand what is best for them based on their own bodies.

“A big part of what we need to do, back to the target audience, is find consumers who want better health, who have had this wake-up call,” Kogan said. “It’s a psychographic overlay, it’s not demographic. The main thing right now is that it’s a very large audience.

When Oura was founded in Finland in 2013, the wearable tech phase was largely dominated by basic Fitbit, two years before Apple launched its first Apple Watch. And just like Peloton and its competitors in fitness tech, the healthcare tech category is growing. While Apple is in its seventh watch, there are other wearable devices like Whoop which, like Oura, monitor skin temperature, heart rate variability and more, but in a portable format. wrist. Different devices, such as Apollo Neuro, aim to help people relieve stress or focus with haptic feedback. Yet another, Muse, focuses on the brain with a technological means to help people meditate.

According to the research firm IDC, global wearable shipments grew 32.3% year-on-year in the second quarter of 2021 with a total volume of 114.2 million. While Apple controlled 28% of the market share, IDC estimated that the “others” still controlled 37%, while Chinese companies like Xiaomi and Huawei hold 12% and 10% respectively. (Samsung only held 9% of the market last quarter.)

While Oura has a massive amount of personal health data from its users, Singh Rai says the company does not share or sell it to other companies. He says the company is looking for ways to become a “driving force behind recommendations for your health,” adding that everything complies with EU data privacy regulations. (Oura previously hired the former head of data science for another healthcare company that previously worked in data science at Netflix.)

Oura also leans heavily on research with studies in partnership with UCSF, the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute at the University of West Virginia and others. The US military also has troops that wear them to know when a soldier may get sick.

“A lot of us have kind of been sold to a version of health that means you have to do this, buy this supplement, try this diet, do this type of exercise,” Singh Rai said. “And the answer is to try these things, but look inward and see what works for you and understanding what is below and in your body allows you to understand what has the most impact.”


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