Fitness trackers

Nextiles raises $5 million to create next-gen fitness trackers

Smart fabric startup Nextiles announced a $5 million funding round on Tuesday, led by Drive by DraftKings and joined by the NBA and Madison Square Garden Sports Corp., among others.

Using miniature sensors sewn into traditional fabrics, Nextiles builds smart sleeves to help tennis and baseball players track a variety of performances and health metrics, including more advanced measurements that a simple strap might miss. He’s also developing other uses for his technology, which can be incorporated into just about any fabric. That could mean smart socks or replacing large, expensive force plates with what amount to smart towels.

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“What sets us apart at Nextiles is our expertise in materials science and our holistic approach to the human performance industry,” said NBA Vice President of Basketball Strategy Tom Ryan. , in a press release. “We are excited to support Nextiles in its next phase of growth as we continue to help design and test new solutions to better quantify performance.”

Founded in 2018 and currently based in Brooklyn, Nextiles was selected in the first cohort of the NBA Launchpad after shifting its focus from physical therapy to sports. This year, the company hopes to increase its output from at least 1,000 items per month to 10,000. It is also turning its attention to software, making advanced data mined from devices more accessible to players and coaches.

“Really, hardware is a means to an end,” said Nextiles CEO George Sun. The hope is that one day the technology will simply be embedded in clothing or equipment to the point that users don’t even think about it.

“Nextiles is building the future of wearable technology with its semiconductor leads, delivering revolutionary movement analytic for athletes to improve technique and avoid injury,” Meredith McPherron, CEO of Drive by DraftKings, said in a statement. “We are thrilled to partner with Nextiles as they expand their product application to all sports.”

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