Athos Co-Founder and CEO Dhananja Jayalath has always had a passion for building things. As an Electrical Engineering major at the University of Waterloo, Dhananja began building the first Athos prototypes between classes. Motivated by a desire to better analyse and improve his workouts (and, as a college student, without the bank account to afford a personal trainer), Dhananja began exploring novel applications of a science called electromyography (EMG). Dhananja (with his co-founder Chris Wiebe) found a way to integrate EMG science, which had previously required expensive machines and electrodes, into apparel he would have worn to the gym anyway. Since co-founding Athos in the summer of 2012, Dhananja has been working to perfect both the product and his squat form (he still needs some work on the latter).
1) What is Athos?
Athos makes smart clothing to help all athletes make sure every workout they have is the best workout. Our mission is to make sure every athlete reaches their goals most effectively and to do this, we have developed a product that provides the data required to make this mission possible. The Athos system consists of clothing that have embedded sensors and when you plug in our Core, data from your muscles is wirelessly transmitted to our application on your iOS device.
2) We all hear about the revolutionary sports gadget which seems to constantly fail us. What makes Athos different?
Athos is unique in that we collect specific and detailed information about muscles that no other devices in the market does. This gives us the ability build a compelling experience that’s only we can make possible. What we do is provide insights that are immediately actionable so that you can make adjustments between workouts, between sets or even in real-time during each rep. We provide insights that are immediately actionable that makes a real difference to your workout.
3) What inspired you to found Athos?
The inspiration to create athos came while we were students in college. Chris and I were both interested in getting into better shape and putting on some muscle so we started going to the gym more seriously. Pretty early on, we both realized that we didn’t really know what we were doing, we were never sure if we were getting the most out of the time we spent at the gym and absolutely could not afford to hire a personal trainer. As engineers, we decided to build something that could solve our problem but also help the broader fitness consumer get more efficient and effective in the gym.
4) Is the future of technology in sports?
I think it’s pretty safe to say that there is a huge market for technology in sport. Over the last few decades we have seen technology become more and more integrated into amateur, collegiate and professional sports. Technology has revolutionized the way that people train and while sports isn’t the only place where tech is becoming more and more common, sports is certainly one place where technology will continue to improve performance and have a huge impact.
5) What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs who want to start a business?
In the early phases, experimentation is essential. You need to try things out, talk to your audience, get as much feedback as possible and incorporate it into what you are doing. You also need to understand that the people you bring into your business are the ones who are going to make your dream become a reality. Invest in finding the right people, with the right expertise and give them the freedom to challenge you and make you think about things differently. Your team is your #1 asset.
We would like to thank Dhananja for speaking with us.