ATHOS Muscles In on Tech-driven Performance Apparel Market

8/13/2014
ATHOS, an innovator in next generation wearable sensors and performance apparel, recently closed $12.2 million in Series B financing. The round was led by DCM, with participation from True Ventures, Managing Partner and Chairman of the Golden State Warriors Joe Lacob, NBA All-Star Jermaine O'Neal and existing investor, The Social+Capital Partnership.

ATHOS will use the investment to further commercialize its product and invest in scaling manufacturing and marketing efforts. Available this fall, it is the first fitness apparel line that can collect and analyze muscle activity and effort, as well as heart and breathing rates – giving people a real-time picture of their workout performance.

Along with premier investors, ATHOS has also signed agreements with two Tier 1 manufacturers including a multi-billion dollar garment manufacturer whose biggest clients include some of the best-known sportswear companies. as well as one of the leading hardware manufacturers in the world. Together with ATHOS, these manufacturers have developed a revolutionary manufacturing process to create high-quality sensors integrated into clothing in a way that has never been done before.

"As we think about the future of the fitness and apparel industry, no one has successfully cracked the ability to measure total body behavior including muscle movement, and then translated that into actionable insight," said Pete Moran, general partner, DCM. "ATHOS is breaking new ground in this arena, and soon, this kind of intelligence will be the 'new normal' in a consumer's mind."

Designed to be not only functional but also comfortable and stylish, the new ATHOS apparel line uses small sensors that are neatly built into compression clothing and communicate directly with a consumer's smartphone to give the wearer real-time feedback on their workout.

"ATHOS' unique performance apparel is completely changing the way we train the human body," said Joe Lacob, managing partner and chairman, Golden State Warriors. "Whether you are a professional athlete or just aspiring to be in better shape, accurate and visual data can boost your training and make your training more effective. With ATHOS, we will have a complete view of the body in action – muscle movement, effort, calories burned, heart rate target zones and more – giving athletes instantaneous insight without disrupting their workouts."

Today's announcement comes at a time when consumer interest in sports and fitness apparel is growing worldwide. According to Boston-based research firm Trefis, the global sports apparel market is set to grow to $178 billion by 2019.

"ATHOS' entrance into the market couldn't come at a better time," said, Puneet Agarwal, partner, True Ventures, who was also an early investor in FitBit. "ATHOS is positioned to transcend the fitness and apparel industry – an industry that is seeing more interest in all kinds of devices and clothing designed to help people stay fit and improve performance. We couldn't be more pleased to partner with ATHOS and help it bring this innovation to the masses."

"As someone who has performed at the highest levels of the NBA for more than 17 years, I can attest to how important training is," said O'Neal. "When I saw ATHOS for the first time, my immediate thought was how much more longevity it can give athletes by allowing us to train smarter and prevent injury through a better understanding and fine tuning of our bodies."

Started in 2010 by co-founders Dhananja Jayalath, Christopher Wiebe and Chamath Palihapitiya, the core of ATHOS' technology was borne from an advanced engineering project at the University of Waterloo. The technology incorporates electromyography, or EMG, one of the most effective ways of tracking muscles. Benefits of EMG technology had been previously reserved to top performance institutes. ATHOS is the first to bring this technology mainstream by invisibly embedding muscle-tracking sensors into comfortable, stylish performance apparel. ATHOS is unique in that it contains the electronics and intelligence that enable the collection and interpretation of biosignals, sending it all to the user's mobile device via Bluetooth.

"We've spent the past few years perfecting this technology and making the gear seamless, comfortable and durable," said Jayalath, the company CEO. "And now, with backing from two experienced investors, plus the support of Golden State Warriors' owner Joe Lacob and top athletes such as Jermaine O'Neal, we are excited to continue our journey to transform the fitness industry worldwide."

"It's great to see such high caliber investors who also realize the potential of this product," said Palihapitiya, managing partner of The Social+Capital Partnership and chairman of ATHOS. "ATHOS is truly a revolutionary way to use technology to measure one's body and then act on that information in a useful way."

The new funding brings the total amount raised-to-date to $16 million. As part of the deal, Pete Moran, general partner at DCM, and Joe Lacob have joined ATHOS' board of directors.

Products will begin shipping in fall 2014, and pre-orders can be reserved here.
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