How did Athos become a groundbreaking tech startup? Much less, one known for creating the first-ever smart clothing, which tracks muscle effort and activity, and then sends that data to a smartphone app? “Naive confidence,” says Athos CEO Dhanaja Jayalath. “We just believed that we could do it.”
To create a proprietary sensor that is sweat-proof and waterproof, Jayalath and his team had to “start from scratch” multiple times. Jayalath joked that he often felt like “a glorified seamstress.” “I got my degree in electrical engineering and have spent quite a few of the last months figuring out how to sew all these sensors into pants.”
The results were ultimately worth the time-intensive work, as Athos has now received a total of $15.7 million in venture capital and angel funding.
One of the company’s investors is Golden State Warriors majority owner and chairman, Joe Lacob, and partial owner Chamath Palihapitiya also serves as Athos’ executive chairman and co-founder. A true partnership, the professional basketball team practices wearing Athos.
The San Francisco Business Times reported that the NBA team has been beta-testing Athos’ smart shirts and pants in preparation for the official launch of Athos’ clothing this week. Palihapitiya told the Business Times, “We see these products as a more precise way to train athletes, allowing them to be more efficient and see fatigue before injury occurs.”
According to Palihapitiya, Athos is marketing their smart clothing to professional athletes and regular gym-goers alike. Up to 50 million people go to the gym at least four times a week, and they too could get use out of Athos’ progress-tracking capabilities.
Athos is selling their plastic “core” for $199, and the smart shirt and smart pants will be $99 each. Apparently, the pre-sale has been going well — the company says it’s sold “multi-millions of dollars” worth already.