Montreal is well known for its creativity and fashion. But if entrepreneurs like Pierre-Alexandre Fournier have their way, the fascinating world of wearable technology may well have a defining impact on the city and become part of its new identity: a melding of technology, and style that will bridge the traditions of the old analog with the technologies of the new digital.
Pierre is the CEO of Hexoskin, a wearable technology company that weaves itself perfectly to the movement known as "quantified self"—a new way of living life where individuals are data-driven in their life decisions.
As an example, some leading practitioners of this movement have correlated their sneezes with their travel and work habits to see how to improve their living conditions. It is a movement that takes the same data-driven decision-making that fuels successful startups, and applies it to the day-to-day of everybody.
Hexoskin aims to be a democratizing force for this movement. The company is easiest to think of as a provider of apparel with a network of sensors attached that feed into software. This software then provides an intuitive interface that doubles as a personal digitized diary of somebody’s well-being. Think of it as Google Analytics for your own well-being, a revolutionary new perspective on human health.
The shirts are sleek and well-designed. This is deliberate. The founding team has a specialization in wearable medical sensors, and so they know well the challenge of getting people to actually feel comfortable and adopt this new technology. They’ve found out through experience that sleek, stylish form-fitting clothing is the best way to get people to embrace placing health technology on their bodies.
Hexoskin would know, as they are world leaders in mass producing and shipping smart clothing. Pierre notes that the barriers to entry to the industry are very high, and potential competition is a couple of years away. One of the leading lights of technological change is proudly making its presence felt in Montreal—and around the world.
Hexoskin products are sold in 24 countries, and Pierre is in discussion with potential partners he can’t comment on except to note that he is dealing with movers and shakers. Hexoskin is making an impression, and is staking a claim to being one of the leading forces in wearable technology.
Hexoskin shirts were worn by the Dufour-Lapointe sisters while they were training to get gold medals for Canada. Many professional athletes swear by the product, but the fun thing about it is that it can truly be used by anybody, as more and more awe-inspiring use cases pop up.
One of these cases may be the most exciting yet. The Hexoskin team is working on potentially getting their products launched with astronauts heading to the International Space Station. Imagine a shirt anybody could wear on planet Earth, being the same one being worn by those who constantly rotate around our planet in space, magnitudes of distance away.
This is the democratizing power of Hexoskin: bringing gear fit for astronauts to the level where they can and should be worn by the average person. Consistent with this spirit, Hexoskin has made all of their data open, allowing for any external developer to play with it through a REST API. It speaks to a spirit of accessibility, and openness that defines Hexoskin, and the Montreal startup community.
Montreal has many pillars in its startup community looking to take over their industry. Hexoskin is working at that mission, and garnering the traction it needs to send quality, disruptive Canadian-made products onto the top of Olympic podiums, to space and beyond, and perhaps most important, in the hands of you and I.