Hykso, a sportstech company building wrist-sensors for competitive athletes, is the latest company to join Y Combinator’s winter 2016 cohort.
The company graduated from Founder Institute Montreal in July 2015, and was the winner of the Best On-Stage Pitch at the International Startup Festival this year. Hykso also released its first wrist sensor product targeted to boxing and mixed martial arts athletes. The device analyzes the number, type, and the speed of strikes thrown during both training sessions and live fights.
“I started boxing about five years ago and I was really into it. At first, you really feel your progression, but as you get better, things start to be very incremental, until a point where you’re not really sure if you’re doing the right thing,” said founder and CEO Khalil Zahar, who found that there was no way to measure fitness levels for boxers. “If you’re doing weight lifting, you know exactly if you’re lifting more than a month ago. If you’re a long distance runner, you know exactly if you can run your 10 kilometres faster than before. But in boxing, nothing.”
Hykso’s sensor enables users to download drills based on pro athletes for training, and the company verifies the velocity of punches with a high speed camera at 2000 FPS, and films athletes training in the ring before passing it in slow motion to measure accuracy in its punch identification algorithms.
Hykso recently launched a private beta and has been working exclusively with elite professional fighters like WBA World Champion, Javier Fortuna, and its technology will be used at the training camp of the US National team of boxing next April in preparation for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
As for how being at Y Combinator will help the company, Zahar said that the team will benefit from YC’s network of alumni which includes companies like Thalmic Labs and Airbnb, and being exposed to a strong network of investors.
“Our dream is that our product becomes the data provider in all the three tiers of the sport: official data during live events, elite fighters, and fitness boxers,” said Zahar. “We’re officially launching our pre-order campaign for our first production of 500 units that will allow fitness boxers to do something they weren’t able to do before: compete against each other without entering the ring.”