The noisy wearable device sector just got louder today with Boston startup Whoop leaping out of stealth mode with a $12 million Series B round.
Whoop, formerly known as Bobo Analytics, had already quietly raised more than $9 million. Today, along with announcing the new money, it unveiled its wrist-worn strap that measures certain biometrics 24 hours a day and is intended to help optimize elite athletes’ training regimens, reduce injuries, and boost performance, the company says.
“Given the slim margin between success and failure, it’s surprising that most athletes don’t really understand what they’re doing to their bodies,” Whoop CEO and founder Will Ahmed says in a press release. “Even the fittest athletes are susceptible to overtraining, misinterpreting fitness peaks, and misconceptions around recovery and sleep. Coaches and trainers face the challenge of evaluating the status and training plans for 10, 20, or 50 athletes at a time.”
Whoop’s wristband continuously measures an athlete’s heart rate, looking at things like variations between beats, even while asleep; skin moisture; ambient temperature and the body’s response to the environment; and motion.
The device collects more than 150 megabytes of physiological data per day, and transmits it via Bluetooth signal to an online database for analysis. The system then kicks out three measurements each day: an intensity score, which relays the level of strain on the body and what that means; a recovery score, which quantifies the body’s preparedness for strain or exertion; and a sleep performance score, which compares how much quality sleep an athlete got the previous night with how much sleep the body needed to adequately recharge.
Coaches and athletic trainers can also view each athlete’s data on a team dashboard, with custom privacy settings available. The idea is to allow them to identify which athletes aren’t training enough—or, perhaps more importantly, are training too hard and increasing their chances of injury, Whoop says.
“At the elite level, it’s no longer just about outworking your opponents to get an edge,” says Whoop advisor Mike Mancias, the athletic trainer for NBA star LeBron James, in a press release. “It’s only by balancing intensity with recovery that athletes can optimize performance. Whoop’s system and the data it provides helps me gain a better understanding of each of my individual athlete’s bodies, their capabilities, and their limitations, leading to better and safer athletic performance.”
Whoop is competing in a crowded field of fitness-tracking device makers, including big companies like Fitbit, Jawbone, and Apple, with its watch. In the Boston area, others working at the intersection of devices and health monitoring include Neumitra and Quanttus.
And Whoop isn’t the only wearable device company targeting athletes. Others include Seiva Technologies, a small Milwaukee startup that has gone through a pair of local accelerator programs and is starting to pick up some early adopters, including U.S. Olympic athletes.
Whoop seems to be making an early impression, too. It says its product is already being used by athletes across virtually all of the major U.S. professional sports leagues and college sports conferences, as well as the English Premier League, several Olympic teams, and trainers for big-name athletes like James and swimmer Michael Phelps. The U.S. military is also using it.
The Series B round was led by Two Sigma Ventures, with participation from Mousse Partners, Accomplice, Promus Ventures, Valley Oak Investments, and NextView Ventures. The money will go toward sales and marketing and product development.
We will update this story with more info from Ahmed.