Stoko, a Vancouver-based developer of supportive apparel for athletes, has secured C$6 million in seed-stage financing. The angel backers of the round included John Currie, the former CFO of Lululemon. Stoko’s first product is K1, a knee brace support product.
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, May 10, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Stoko, a Vancouver-based startup that is changing the way athletes prevent and recover from injuries, today announced its raised $6 Million in seed funding from multiple sources, including some of Canada’s top industry investors. Created by athletes for athletes, Stoko is the first-to-market in creating a new category of professional knee brace support, called supportive apparel. Stoko’s first product, the K1 is a beautifully designed compression tight with integrated joint support that mimics the body’s natural structures to give the support of a traditional knee brace with unparalleled comfort.
“This funding will fuel our expansion efforts as we carve out a new category in retail, focused on supporting athletes in returning to play after an injury or preventing one altogether,” said Zack Eberwien, CEO of Stoko. “Our product is revolutionary in that it gives athletes the confidence to do the sports and activities they love in comfortable apparel that’s as effective as a medical-grade knee brace.”
Eberwein, a mechanical engineer by training, co-founded the startup in 2017 after experiencing an acute knee injury from an extreme hike challenge. On a whim he’d decided to leave his rigid knee brace behind; this life-altering decision propelled him to find a better way to support athletes through injuries.
Stoko’s leadership team includes some of Canada’s top-level athletes like Olympian gymnast Scott Morgan, a co-founder, and Olympian skier Allison Forsyth who heads up brand and community. The high performance team is competing against an outdated, 50-year-old brace industry and some of Canada’s top angel investors are betting on their future.
“Stoko’s proprietary technology addresses a real need that exists and disrupts the competition that has long been stagnant,” said John Currie, the former CFO of lululemon and investor in Stoko. “They are focused on building a company with the foundation and capabilities to efficiently scale the opportunity they have created.”
In addition to Currie, notable investors include Norm Francis, CEO of Boardwalk Ventures, Greg Malpass, CEO of Traction on Demand, Darrell Kopke, CEO of Adelhard (formerly Kit and Ace and lululemon) and Paul Geyer, CEO of Discovery Parks and Nimbus Synergies.
Unlike its traditional competitors, Stoko has both a strong direct-to-consumer and business to business model. The K1 is eligible for medical coverage by some healthcare providers and in addition to its e-commerce platform, www.stokodesign.com, it is available for purchase at specialty stores including Myodetox, Paris Orthotics and Kintec Footwear in Vancouver, Edmonton, LA and Toronto.