Athos raises $35.5M for health-sensing clothing for athletes

By Aditi Pai
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AthosRedwood, California-based wearable technology maker Athos has raised $35.5 million in a round led by Social Capital with participation from MAS Holdings, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Felix Capital, as well as existing investors DMC, True Ventures, and Joe Lacob, who is managing partner and chairman of the basketball team Golden State Warriors.

This brings the company's total funding to at least $51.2 million. Athos raised its last round in August 2014. 

“Athos’ mission is to help people train more effectively to reach their fitness goals," Athos CEO Dhananja Jayalath said in a statement. "...Whether you are trying to get stronger, lose weight or just feel healthy, we want to help you get the most out of your time and effort so that it’s easier to reach those goals.”

Athos’ shirt is equipped with 16 sensors. Twelve are dedicated to electromyography (EMG) tracking, which allow athletes to understand how hard their muscles are working and if they are reaching certain muscle targets, including building, toning, under training, and if they have muscle fatigue. Two of the remaining sensors track heart rate and heart rate variability and two track breathing patterns.

Athos also offers pants with eight EMG sensors and four heart rate sensors. A small, round device, called Athos Core, fits onto the clothing and sends data from the sensors to a companion app via Bluetooth. From the app, athletes can choose training goals related to cardio, muscle toning, and weight loss. Athletes can then use the app to check their progress throughout their workout and access previous workouts that are logged and saved.

The shirts cost $398 and the pants cost $348, with Athos Core included. If the pieces are bought separately, the shirts cost $199, the pants cost $149, and Athos Core costs $199. Los Angeles-based ProActive and Miami-based Fast Twitch, two sporting facilities, use Athos' offering with athletes including Karl Anthony Towns, a professional basketball player, Clay Matthews, a professional football player, and Elvis Dumervil, also a pro football player.

Recently, Athos hired two new employees -- Don Faul, who will serve as COO, and Rose Yao, who was hired as VP of Product. Faul previously worked as head of operations at Pinterest, VP of online operations at Facebook, and manager of online sales and operations at Google. Yao was previously a product lead at Facebook and senior product manager at Google.

Another health-sensing apparel company, OMSignal, made news this year when the company partnered with Ralph Lauren to sell a line of shirts, called PoloTech, that have embedded fitness tracking sensors. The PoloTech shirt has silver fibers woven into its fabric to help it track heart rate, heart variability, breathing depth and recovery, intensity of movement, energy output, stress levels, steps taken, and calories burned.