Our weekly Q&A session continues this week with Greg Biggers, the CEO of San Francisco based wearable tech startup Compression Kinetics. To briefly summarize the company, Compression Kinetics built a fully portable and affordable compression device that increases circulation and provides a massage-like motion on the muscles, flushing metabolites and delivering fresh nutrients, helping people get back to their peak as quickly as possible.
SCSV: How did you get the idea of Compression Kinetics?
Greg Biggers: My co-founder John Pamplin invented our technology while he was an undergrad at University of North Carolina. A soccer player studying biomedical engineering, he knew of the active compression devices used by scholarship athletes as well as the medical devices used in hospitals. But he needed something that was way more portable, and affordable enough for regular people. So he found a way to solve his own problem.I fell in love with two things about the business we are growing: One, the beautiful simplicity of our technology for creating active compression, and two, the great amount of good we will do in the world by providing it with such an attractive form and price.
SCSV: Why should sports teams or athletes use your product? What are the benefits of using your product?
Greg Biggers: Teams and individuals use our product for warm up and recovery. They wear our product on the way to the gym / field / track for warm up before workouts and games, and again after workout or the game for rapid recovery. Our product increases circulation and provides a massage-like motion on the muscles, flushing metabolites and delivering fresh nutrients, helping people get back to their peak as quickly as possible. In a sleek, portable form that is easy to travel with. That is why a prominent San Francisco area pro team has already purchased product, and why so many are signing up for our Red Carpet early access program.
SCSV: Your product is a lot cheaper than competing products out there like Normatec. How is that possible? What did you do to make it that affordable?
Greg Biggers: You are right our product is so much more price-accessible than the alternatives. That’s why this is such a major opportunity to do good and grow a valuable business. We use a space age material— shape memory alloy— as the actuator for compression force. That breakthrough, protected with two issued patents, lets us provide active compression in a form worn like a garment, and at an attractive price because we don’t need big pumps and motors and tubes like other products. And don’t forget, since we don’t need that big motor and pump, our product and customers are untethered from the wall plug. Our product is battery powered and totally mobile.
SCSV: What are your plans for the next 12 months?
Greg Biggers: We are so busy fulfilling demand for our products, and we have so much to do. We are right now signing up teams and athletes to our Red Carpet early access program. This is for those who want the competitive edge that comes with getting product before the rest of the market, and who want to help us create the best possible experience for our customers.
Simultaneously, we are finishing up a couple of big innovations and a new brand identity before we launch.
And of course, it requires capital to launch the company and produce product. So finding the right investors to fuel our growth is an important activity for us this year.
SCSV: Beyond sports, what are the other key markets that you are targeting with your product? How big are those opportunities?
Greg Biggers: We have huge opportunities to help people in fitness with a recovery product that fits seamlessly into their lives, rather than requiring them to tether to a loud motor and wall power. As we grow beyond fitness, large market segments in wellness and medical also need this product. Those markets include things like air travel (to reduce swelling and risk of blot clots/DVT), pregnant women, elderly with slow circulation, as well as post-surgery care in the hospital and at home.
SCSV: What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs out there who have hardware startups in sports and are trying to gain traction?
Greg Biggers: Haha, are you saying I’m not young? I love to see entrepreneurs with passion and an idea for how to solve important problems. There is so much opportunity!
Of course, you have to have the fundamentals. Big success factors for us were validating the large size of the opportunity, validating that our product truly does solve the problem at which we are aimed, and assembling the right extended team of experts to produce the product. As for gaining traction, nothing beats having a good product. But in addition, I would say to not exhaust yourself trying to convince everyone you meet. Instead, at first, find a small number of people or teams who believe in your product and forge a close partnership with them. Help them succeed. Ask their help to improve your product. Delight them, and the rest of the market will follow.
SCSV: I appreciate the time taken to speak with us this week. We look forward to seeing your advancements in the coming months.