Nextiles, creators of smart fabric technology, raised $5M in funding. Drive by DraftKings led the seed investment, with participation from the NBA, Olympian Hilary Knight, and others.
Its sensor-laced threads have the potential to unlock performance data for pro athletes and everyday fitness seekers alike.
Analytics x Activewear
Nextiles uses flexible electronics to create an ultra-sensitive smart fabric that can be sewn into compression gear or sportswear.
Aggregating real-time data via Bluetooth, its wearable moves with the athlete, measuring raw forces (like velocity, power, and range of motion), workload, and temperature—as well as providing 3D motion capture data.
Making complex data available beyond the lab setting, organizations that rely on elite human performance are taking notice.
In addition to participation from the NBA, backers include the National Science Foundation, the US Air Force, and MSG Sports (owner of the New York Knicks and New York Rangers).
Shaping its offering, Nextiles will launch a smart sleeve platform into pro tennis and collegiate baseball this summer before expanding its product line.
As with most high-performance technology, it’s only a matter of time before this trickles down to the data-hungry consumer.
Let’s Get Technical
New-age apparel makers are getting increasingly technical to optimize performance.
Reimagining the weighted vest, OMORPHO recently launched its micro-weighted apparel. And, in addition to forthcoming hiking products, lululemon just dropped its SenseKnit fabric, reported to improve both temperature regulation and endurance.
Meanwhile, the data-enabled sportswear market is stitching together a comeback.
- Housing its wearable sensor, WHOOP Body draws analytics from sports bras, leggings, running shorts, and more.
- Cipher Skin raised $5M in March 2021 for its smart sensor technology, launching arm and leg sleeves.
- UK-based Prevayl claims exceptional fashion and ultra-accurate biometrics through its sensor-affixed tops.
Takeaway: From athletics to the armed forces to weekend warriors, performance data is in high demand. Improving access to analytics while making its device disappear, Nextiles is tapping a growing trend in next-gen wearables.