The duo behind the phone accessories brand Tech21 have raised £6.9 million ($9 million) in funding for their new wearable tech start-up Nurvv that wants change the way you exercise.
Nurvv debuted its first product, a pair of smart insoles for running shoes named Nurvv Run, at CES in Las Vegas earlier this year to much acclaim. The insoles feature 32 precision sensors which each capture data from the feet at 1,000 times per second.
The sensors capture information such as cadence, step length, foot strike, pronation and balance. This is all fed into the accompanying Nurvv Run app to show a picture of the wearer’s running technique, as well as offer insights on how to improve and personalised coaching for before, during and after a run. They have a five-hour active battery life so you do need to make sure you charge them, but they work with all running shoes and the app can connect to Apple Watch and Garmin wearables.
Nurvv’s insoles also help runners to improve their technique, pace and reduce injury via a running health score. This analyses each runner’s training load and balance to identify problem area. Training for the London Marathon and don’t want to get injured before the big day? This could come in particularly handy.
The start-up’s founders, husband and wife duo Jason and Ulrica Roberts, said the idea behind Nurvv Run was to offer real-time insights, straight from the feet.
“From the very beginning of this journey we kept coming back to the same question: ‘Why is running measured from the wrist, when most of the important metrics happen at the feet?. Driven by the idea we could revolutionise running by putting core biomechanical principles at the heart of our solution, we sought out the expertise to make it happen.”
The company worked with hundreds of athletes as well as institutions including the National Physical Laboratory over a three-year period to test out the insoles to ensure the data was correct. A total of 22 million steps and 30,000 miles were covered on the road as part of the testing. All that tech doesn’t come cheap, however, the insoles are now on sale at Nurvv’s website for £249.
Now the company has secured funding from Hiro Capital, a new sports, gaming and esports venture capital fund, the money will be used to bring Nurvv Run to the global market as well as fund further research and development.
Speaking about the investment, Hiro’s managing partner Luke Alvarez, said: “Nurvv’s success comes from putting the athlete’s body at the heart of everything they do. Nurvv is based on fundamental patented sensor technologies combined with deep biomechanics and data science that have revolutionary potential across sports, gaming, VR/AR and wellness. Jason and Ulrica are extraordinary entrepreneurs and we are excited to be working with them and their team to take Nurvv to the next level.”
Running is becoming increasingly high-tech. Under Armour recently announced its Hovr Machina trainer which tracks foot strike angle, ground contact time and other running metrics without the need for smart insoles. In addition, Nike’s Vaporfly 4% shoe was nearly banned by the World Athletics for being too fast – Yannis Pitsiladis, the scientist who set up the project to break the two-hour barrier in 2014, likened the shoe to “technological doping.”
Women in tech podcast returns