PE firm Permira invests $150 mln in hiking app AllTrails

Nov 16 (Reuters) - AllTrails, which operates a popular digital guide app for hikers, has raised $150 million in fresh capital from the growth fund of private equity firm Permira, the U.S. company's chief executive told Reuters on Tuesday.

Another private equity shop Spectrum Equity, which bought a majority stake in AllTrails in 2018 for $75 million, will remain a majority owner after the latest financing.

The app, first launched in 2010, plans to use the capital for hiring and expanding in international markets, said Ron Schneidermann, CEO at AllTrails.

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"One area of investment is going to be on really improve the search and discovery experience. There's a lot more we could do to elevate the on trail experience," Schneidermann added.

Apps like AllTrails are witnessing strong growth during the pandemic, as work-from-home living leads people to seek safe outdoor activities such as hiking.

AllTrails said it has over 30 million users globally after experiencing triple digit growth in 2020 and covers trails in 190 countries. Users can discover, share and review popular trails on the app.

In 2020, the app was installed by 8.7 million users worldwide, up 89% from the year-ago period, according to data from SensorTower. In the most recent quarter, AllTrails' average monthly active users was up 36% year-over-year.

The app is free to use, but charges $29.99 per year for the pro version, which includes more features including offline map downloads. Its paid users of over 1 million account for the majority of AllTrails' revenues.

"We're quite confident that what COVID did was encouraging people to do more outdoor activity, and that will continue well into the future as they want to enjoy nature," said Bruce Chizen, senior advisor to Permira, who led the deal.

In September 2020, Permira also participated in a $450 million investment in Zwift, an online fitness platform for cyclists and runners.

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Reporting by Krystal Hu in New York; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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