Adam Crofts: Founder and CEO
In 2019, Adam Crofts (CEO and co-founder of Prevayl) and David Newns (co-founder and investor of Prevayl) joined forces to talk about the future of various industries.
Adam, having shown a keen interest in sports science from an early age, particularly when it comes to smart clothing and how data can be used to improve performance; whilst David has a reputation of being industry-disruptive and a proven track record when it comes to investments – this was the beginning of an unstoppable partnership.
They started by looking into how underwhelming the world of wearable technology was: big, clunky, super expensive machinery that’s not adapted to the consumer market. Many brands have tried breaking the world of smart clothing but with little success to show for it. David’s and Adam’s first mission was to understand where they went wrong.
“If we’re going to do this, what’s it going to take? Why have some of the world’s biggest brands failed? What was it that was stopping them?”
So, they started looking into some of the barriers that their competition had faced: poor data that was taken from the body, delivering inaccurate information, a design which took a purely technological approach, visible wires with random bits of plastic and kit that delivered information that could only be deciphered by a sports scientist.
“For us, the solution was the clothes being the next interface. Taking information straight from your body. That’s the key! It almost needed to be invisible tech.”
Adam continues by outlining what specifically needed to happen next. “We knew the size of the market and that it was there to play for. We put a lot of strategy on creating IP (Intellectual Property) because we knew we wanted to build for the future so there was a huge emphasis on IP from where we wanted to land with V1 (version one of the Sensor) to where we wanted to be in 5–10 years time.”
Adam realised very early on that if this idea was to become a reality, he needed to assemble a team of experts across multiple disciplines.
“This solution requires specialist technology in every area, not just clothing. This includes knitting, design, hardware, software, the machine learning platform, the app functionality and more.
“One of the biggest challenges was that for it all to work you need to build all the workflows in line with each other, otherwise it’s not possible. So we found some amazing leaders with experience in each of these areas all who shared this one vision: this seamless solution; beautifully designed clothing with hidden tech.”
Unfortunately, having a great idea and a strong team behind you isn’t enough to get a start-up off the ground.
“Initially getting investment to support the vision was hard so we were lucky that we already had some good backing and people who believed in the vision. This allowed us to assemble these teams, build rapid prototypes, test and refine. We were quickly able to find out exactly what didn’t work and why.
“Another challenge with investors is that they want you to define who you are in a couple of words. Are you a hardware company? Are you a software company? A clothing brand? The short answer is: none of them, and all of them. Essentially, you need all the skills, all the capability and all the tech knowledge in-house to create the solution.”
Adam knew that athletes were a good place to start for Prevayl. Firstly, because the look and feel of the clothing lends itself to sports and performance. Secondly, partnering with athletes assures an unmatched level of credibility. These people are literally built to go the extra mile, push themselves to abnormal limits. The fact that our solution not only works on them but delivers great information is very encouraging going forward.
“Athletes are just the beginning, the beauty of Prevayl is that it’s tailored to each individual person and will set goals based on their unique biometrics.”
There have been many defining moments for Adam so far. “Going from the first page of a deck where you literally draw a t-shirt on a page with arrows indicating the different functionalities of the product, to your first prototype. The journey from the page, to seeing some of your own data on a computer screen, that journey has been great! Going from talking to people who love the idea of Prevayl to seeing them putting on the clothes and seeing their reactions, the disbelief that it actually works.”
Some other highlights include moving from a shared office to Prevayl HQ, bringing the team together and having everyone under one roof, working with world class athletes who enjoy the products and launching the Prevayl Founding Membership.
“What we are doing this year with our Founding Membership is creating a community of people who strive to become better versions of themselves. At Prevayl, we want to celebrate the progression of everybody who comes on board as a Founding Member, celebrate the hardship and the achievements that come their way. We are the first Smart Clothing brand that helps you progress with detailed information. We want to connect with people who want to become part of our journey. Founding Members will help shape the brand, shape the business and inspire others to become the best versions of themselves.”