Whoop, the maker of wristbrands tracking athlete's performance metrics, raised $12 million in Series B funding led by Two Sigma Ventures with
participation from Mousse Partners, Accomplice, Promus Ventures, Valley
Oak Investments and NextView Ventures. The capital will be used to
scale its business targeting professional and collegiate teams and to
continue the development of next generation technology.
Whoop claims it is currently being used by athletes on teams across all major U.S. professional sports leagues and college conferences. Numerous Olympians are also using Whoop to train for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
The Whoop system includes a sleek wrist-worn strap that measures key strain and recovery variables more than 100 times per second, 24 hours a day. Whoop’s proprietary algorithms then processes this data to provide athletes an Intensity score, which informs them about the level of strain on their body and what it means; a Recovery score, which measures the body’s preparedness for strain or exertion; and a Sleep Performance score, which evaluates the hours of quality sleep an athlete got in relationship to the sleep he or she needed. The Whoop system presents a team dashboard to coaches and trainers to help inform training and game day decisions.
“At the elite level, it’s no longer just about outworking your opponents to get an edge,” said Mike Mancias, long-time athletic trainer for LeBron James, and now a Whoop advisor. “In fact, research shows that 30 percent of athletes are overtrained, which can lead to injury and poor performance. 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.”
How Whoop Works
The Whoop Strap is a device designed to be always on worn by athletes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It collects more than 150 MB of physiological data per day based on five metrics:
- Heart Rate (HR) Tracking and accurately reporting instantaneous heart rate.
- Heart Rate Variability (HRV) Automatically analyzing, while an athlete is asleep, the tiniest variations in time between beats of his or her resting heart rate, providing detailed insights into the complex relationship of stresses on the body, cardiovascular health and recovery.
- Skin Conductivity Monitoring an athlete’s skin moisture, helping understand activity and sleep latency.
- Ambient Temperature Combining observations of the environment in which an athlete is active with other sensory data to better understand his or her body’s response.
- Accelerometery & Motion Knowing when and how an athlete is moving to understand not only his or her activity level but also refining the heart rate signal during exercise and providing insights into sleep quality.
Data is streamed via Bluetooth to a sophisticated analytics platform that analyzes intensity, recovery and sleep performance. Coaches and trainers can view each athlete’s data on an easy-to-use team dashboard to determine what activities they have engaged in, how much strain they have placed on themselves, and how they have recovered. Coaches and trainers then can see which athletes are undertraining or which are overtraining and putting themselves at risk of an injury, resulting in improved individual and team performance. Sophisticated privacy settings allow teams to customize how data is shared between coaches and athletes as well as athletes with one another.
“Elite athletes require the highest level of body awareness,” said Whoop CEO and Founder Will Ahmed. “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. 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.”
“We built a system that is always on, continuously measuring the nuances of an athlete’s strain and recovery throughout the day,” continued Ahmed. “Our athletes and coaches know that they are making more informed decisions thanks to Whoop. And with highly-tuned, well-established routines, they are loyal to products that service their discrete needs and help them reach the next level. These are the principles of our system’s design. From its comfortable lightweight form factor, to its privacy and security, to its presentation of data, Whoop was built from the ground up to empower elite athletes who need peak performance.”
Whoop is working with teams across the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS and the English Premier League, along with several Olympic teams and trainers for some of the world’s most elite athletes, such as LeBron James and Michael Phelps. At the collegiate level, Whoop is being used in major conferences, including the SEC, Big 10, Pac 10, ACC, Big 12 and the Ivy League.
The Whoop Strap is the first on the market that users can charge either on-the-go or during a night’s rest without having to be removed.
Whoop is backed by an Advisory Board featuring some of the most influential names in health and technology.
“Whoop is the first performance optimization system targeted exclusively at elite athletes, teams, coaches and trainers,” said David Joerg, Managing Director, Two Sigma Ventures. “As a technology-driven investment manager, Two Sigma shares the Whoop appreciation for the power of data. We’re excited to see the promise of advanced technology and analytics brought to the highest level of athletic competition.”