Inspired by the simple idea that humans – and especially athletes – could optimize their daily performance, Will Ahmed and his team designed a device to unlock our potential. WHOOP measures parameters such as strain of workouts, the body’s recovery, and sleep, helping athletes, their coaches, and trainers balance training, reduce injuries, and predict performance.
“Harvard has incredibly brilliant people who don’t always meet one another. The i-lab connects them around a shared problem they want to solve.”
– Will Ahmed, Founder, WHOOP
WHOOP AT A GLANCE
INDUSTRY: Wearable Tech
FOUNDERS: Will Ahmed, John Capodilupo, Aurelian Nicolae
PROGRAMS & LABS: Venture Incubation Program
HARVARD SCHOOLS: Harvard College, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
THE WHOOP STORY
As the Captain of the Men’s Varsity Squash Team at Harvard, Will Ahmed trained daily – yet was amazed by how little he and his fellow athletes knew about their bodies. Training for games felt random, with little sense of the gains being made, and a tendency to overtrain, misinterpret fitness peaks, underestimate recovery and sleep, and get injured.
Ahmed met John Capodilupo, now WHOOP’s CTO, and the two began working at the i-lab. “I had just graduated and John was a sophomore, and I said, wouldn’t it be great if we could rapidly prototype some of these ideas that we have for the hardware?” Ahmed recalls. Capodilupo happened to know a mechanical engineer with a gift for mechanical prototyping: another Harvard grad named Aurelian Nicolae, who became the third co-founder.
The three began working out of the i-lab in the summer of 2012. “We grew our business from there,” says Ahmed. “We may have been the first company to build hardware at the i-lab. We actually helped them create the Maker Studio. All of our first prototypes were built there. By the time we left, we were about 15 people – the biggest company in the i-lab at the time.”
The Harvard Innovation Labs became a central hub for WHOOP as it iterated and grew. Being in the space helped them connect with the right advisors and build a network. “One of the most important meetings we had in our formative stages was at the Harvard Innovation Lab, with industrial designers in from New York, and a number of advisors to the company,” Ahmed recalls.
TRACTION TO DATE
As of December 2018, WHOOP has grown to 55 people and has raised $50M in capital. The system is currently being used by professional and collegiate athletes, Olympians, and the United States military.
To learn more about WHOOP, visit their website.