Bionics company Wiivv Wearables, Inc. has just announced the closing of $3.5M in seed round funding, led by Eclipse VC (formerly Formation 8 Hardware Fund), and Real Ventures, and is also the first investment made by Asimov Ventures, a seed and early stage VC focused on 3D printing and robotics.
Evonik Industries, a world leader in specialty chemicals whom we discussed extensively in regards to Wiiv Wearables in an earlier article, and MAS Holdings, a design-to-delivery manufacturing company with 38 world-class apparel facilities, also joined the round as major strategic investors.
Additional notable investors include Vyomesh Joshi, former EVP of Imaging and Printing at Hewlett Packard, Relentless Pursuits Partners led by Simon Whitfield–a Canadian sports icon and Olympic gold medalist–and FIT Technology Group, the parent company that recently announced the sale of NetFabb to Autodesk.
“Wiivv is at the forefront of mass customization, a new approach to traditional manufacturing that is on par with the ‘on-demand’ world we live in today,” said Alan Meckler, co-founder and general partner of Asimov Ventures. “Wiivv is poised to serve as the gateway for body-part specific telemetry, and made-to-fit gear using a cutting edge adaptive manufacturing system. Their team and bold vision exemplify the kind of partners we choose to work with.”
This is a company we’ve been following closely, as they are involved in expansive technology and innovation where few are venturing. While foot care might not be a subject most of us address often–or even take any care with at all–we’ll just bet that a number of you are reading this right now while simultaneously trying to massage some tired toes back into working order after a long day.
With a scalable and adaptive manufacturing system, featuring the world’s fastest customization engine, the team at Wiivv is focusing not on the shoe, but on the insole.
“Throughout the day, your arch is going to go unsupported,” says Jen Riley, Head of Marketing and Care. “And why that matters is the muscles are actually going to collapse, and that leads to foot fatigue. What Wiivvs do is we offer custom arch support, which is going to lessen that foot fatigue. You can’t get that off the shelf, because every arch is completely different–left to right–person to person.”
This is just the beginning for the Vancouver-based company in the business of making 3D printed biomechanically custom gear, where the information flows straight to them from your smartphone pictures. The next phase of their exciting vision shows them entering the crowdfunding phase with their first mass-market product, BASE, a 3D printed comfort-fit insole with foot digitization performed via smart phone.
“We chose to do a custom insole first because we really believe that every step you take is untapped energy, untapped potential, “ said Shamil Hargovan, co-founder. “For us, the idea that we want to add active years to people’s lives is predicated on people being able to be active, and that starts at the feet.”
Preparing to launch on Kickstarter in early 2016, their campaign will be designed to build a community of early adopters for Wiivv’s first product. Funds raised by the Kickstarter campaign will be funneled this winter toward the manufacturing and fulfilment of the BASE custom insoles, which deliver comfort and support to solve common foot pain.
The suite of technologies comprising their adaptive manufacturing system are both comprehensive–and genius–in that they can be applied to any part of the human body–so obviously, this is just the beginning–from the ground up.
“Through our Kickstarter campaign, we hope to bring our first product to market with a community of Wiivv’s earliest adopters–those who feed our vision of giving people the power of customized, body-perfect gear,” said Shamil Hargovan, CEO, Wiivv.
Wiivv’s core innovation centers around their proprietary product customization engine which begins with the customer’s digital capture, and within seconds offers a ‘biomechanically enhanced’ file ready for 3D printing. Everything about the Wiivv process focuses on streamlining and taking care of the customer, allowing for comfort–and convenience in getting there too–thanks to their creation and advantageous use of new technology.