Montreal-based smart textile company OMsignal has raised a US$10 million growth financing round, led by Relay Ventures, with participation from new and existing investors MAS Holdings, Bessemer Venture Partners, Techstars Ventures, Real Ventures, Mistral Ventures, Primera Capital, Investissement Québec, and Export Development Canada, to bring the company’s smart sports bra, the OMbra, to market accompanied by an iOS mobile app, called OMrun.
OMsignal’s flagship product, the OMbra begins shipping today, available to consumers worldwide through both their website and at select retail outlets across the U.S. and Canada.
“OMbra came to fruition through years of research, development and experimentation with female runners of all levels,” said OM CEO and Co-Founder Stephane Marceau. “From the hundreds of women who tested the bra, we tried to enable a very simple and mindful approach to running that strikes a balance between the will to progress and achieve specific fitness goals, and the simple, healthy pleasures of running.”
The OMbra sports wearable uses embedded patent-pending sensors which capture metrics such as heart rate and breathing rhythm, which is then streamed to the OMrun app, initially available only for the iPhone.
The combination of a smart sports bra and real-time app promises to bring a degree of personal digital coaching and a customizable regimen to runners.
“Our focus was to create a beautiful sports bra to enhance a woman’s body, respond to the unique strains of running, and accurately detect the body’s core signals,” said OM’s Head of Electronic Textiles, Joanna Berzowska. “Boasting specially engineered fabrics and advanced sensory technology, OMbra truly is a product of science and engineering that simultaneously features innovative and inspired design.”
Berzowska is also an associate professor at Concordia University’s department of design and digital arts, and founder and director of XS Labs, a research oriented design studio that specializes in smart textiles.
The OMsignal app determines each runner’s intensity level for optimal progress and fat burning objectives, while also helping to reduce the risk of injury and fatigue.
“OMsignal brings together a dynamic combination of IoT, mobile technology and fashion know-how, along with an experienced team of professionals,” said Alex Baker, Partner at Relay Ventures. “The company has the potential to positively change consumers’ lives. We look forward to playing a role in helping OMsignal turn active apparel and everyday clothes into connected objects that make us all fitter and healthier.”
In 2014, OMsignal partnered with Ralph Lauren, introducing a wearable tennis shirt at the U.S. Open, which resulted in Ralph Lauren’s PoloTech collection.
Last October, OMsignal appointed Shaz Kahng their Chief Marketing Officer, who came with deep experience as the ex-president of lucy Activewear and a senior executive role with Nike.
At that time, the also announced the launch of OMlabs, a research and development group the objective of which is to focus on integrating existing apparel brands with biometric technology.