Vancouver startup Stoko has developed technology that embeds all the support of a traditional knee brace within the comfort of a compression tight.
Their K1 supportive tight mimics the natural support structures within your body to give your knee all the support of a traditional brace with unparalleled comfort. Not surprisingly, elite athletes love the K1.
Late last year Stoko became an official supplier to Canada Snowboard and the Canadian National Snowboard Team and earlier this year Stoko landed a partnership with the Victoria Royals WHL hockey team.
Up against an outdated, 50-year-old knee brace industry, Stoko is creating an entirely new ‘supportive apparel’ category and some of Vancouver’s top angel investors are betting on them.
Today Stoko announced it has raised a $6 million funding round that included local angel investors John Currie (former CFO of lululemon), Norm Francis (Boardwalk Ventures), Greg
Malpass (Traction on Demand), Darrell Kopke (Adelhard, formerly Kit and Ace and lululemon), and Paul Geyer (Discovery Parks and Nimbus Synergies).
“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 and co-founder 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 during the Multi-Grouse Grind 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.
Techcouver had a chance to sit down with Eberwein to hear more about today’s news and why he believes Stoko will be transformative for not only athletes but for anyone recovering from, or looking to overcome an injury.
“For us it’s really about showing up for all athletes, athletes of all abilities, and one of our core beliefs is that everyone has athletic potential. We use the term athlete as a sign of respect for those in pursuit of their athletic potential,” Eberwein told Techcouver.
“For us we want to increase accessibility of our product across geographies, demographics, and within athletics at this point in time as well. We are hyper-focused on building meaningful relationships within the community far beyond just professional or elite sport.”
Originally named Embrace Orthopaedics, Stoko participated in the HATCH Accelerator Ventures program at UBC but has grown out of their campus digs and now have offices in East Vancouver.