Two Women Taking On The Sports Technology World (Bia Sports)

Bia Sport is turning the Shrink it and Pink it approach to technology for women upside-down and taking on the male-dominated sports technology world of wearable fitness devices. Our GPS sports watch is designed by women, for women.

By Cheryl Kellond (Co-Founder & CEO, Bia Sport)

It’s the only GPS sports watch with an integrated SOS alert for solo workouts. We heard loud and clear that safety was as important as stats for runners and cyclists out alone on the trails and roads.

Bia launched on Kickstarter in June. To date, we have raised over $240k. We have until Friday July 13, 2012 at midnight to hit our goal of $400K.

It sounds impossible, but considering $80K of our total was pledged in the last two days, it’s totally doable if we get some help. If you’re an athlete or friend of an athlete, pledge – and tell two friends to pledge!

While tech normally doesn’t have a gender, wearable computing is more personal. Issues of fit, style, and the underlying physiological data analysis, are influenced by gender. Hello Brit wrapped her Jawbone Up in some shiny bling to make it more girlie. But Bia goes beyond gender.

“Existing sports technology is made for the data geek or the uber-competitive 1%. For the other 99% of us, we want the data technology provides, but we are too busy for gadgets that gets in the way of our workout.”

The Bia Sport story is quite simple – two experienced Silicon Valley veterans in their 40s who are also avid athletes got tired of the bulky, inconvenient and literally arm-numbing GPS watches on the market. They also got fed up with their husbands worrying about them on early morning workouts. So they developed something better.

In the female sports circles, they are calling it the Garmin Crusher:

  • Bia is one of the few sports devices to fully support swimming, cycling and running.
  • It’s ergonomically designed to fit a smaller wrist.
  • It connects instantly to a GPS signal and automatically syncs data to your training log, both big time sinks with other alternatives.
  • And most importantly, it has an integrated SOS safety alert for solo workouts.

If you are ever in trouble, just press the button for 3-seconds and your location and first responder info is sent to loved ones and emergency services. You don’t have to be an avid athlete to want that peace of mind.

And of course, it also comes in edgy colors with swappable watchbands. Think: Lululemon meets technology.

While we prioritized women’s needs in the product, everything is really gender neutral, so taking a women-centric approach to our Kickstarter campaign was a risk. Throw a “by women for women” label on anything and it becomes invisible. But that is the whitespace in the market that we want to fill. It’s the market VCs challenged us to prove. And it’s where our personal story resonates. So we went for it.

Our backers are different from many other Kickstarter projects. 90% of them are female and the overwhelming majority never heard of Kickstarter before Bia. Blog coverage by mother runners and triathletes generated more backers than an article on Mashable.

A whopping 45 million of women participate in endurance sports. Women make up 60% of half-marathoners and 40% of marathoners. Bia backers are the everyday athletes fed up with products that don’t fit their bodies and don’t respect their busy lives. They are using their dollars to make a statement – and if we hit our goal – get themselves an amazing training device.

If you have a runner – female or male – who wants safety, stats, and some style – pre-order your Bia on Kickstarter before midnight on July 13.

Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below.

About the guest blogger: Cheryl Kellond is co-founder and CEO at Bia. She moved to Silicon Valley after graduating from MIT in 1996. Over her career as a product manager and GM, she’s generated $750M of revenue from new products at both startups and brand name companies such as Adobe, Yahoo, and ETRADE. She’s done it all while juggling 4 kids, a fabulous husband, and triathlon. She’s racing Ironman Lake Tahoe in 2013. Follow her on Twitter at @xxfounder.