In 2014, Dr. Sabine Seymour started building SUPA, a line of sportswear apparel and devices to supercharge workouts. The gear tracks your biometrics, then SUPA’s AI turns that data into simple, helpful fitness insights. “We’re making apparel a data platform,” says Seymour.
In the video below, she talks about why she was inspired to create this product. And in the Q&A that follows, she describes how she grew her business at NEW INC, the New Museum’s incubator space.
Katheryn Thayer: How did going through an incubator help you launch SUPA?
Sabine Seymour: NEW INC is an amazing place for people in startups that are at the intersection between technology and design in the creative industries. We were an inaugural member. So, we were there the first year, started off fresh. The other members also were amazing. So we have been collaborating now with, I think, three or four different members. At least over the course of the last couple of years.
Thayer: Did you go in with a pretty solid prototype?
Seymour: Since I have been in this industry for almost 20 years I had a very clear idea of the product I would like to envision and to build out. So when we came in we started exploring, doing a lot of different tests, doing some R&D, some research. But at the same time, in parallel, I was already working with companies and manufacturers to develop SUPA the way it is now. It was those two different tracks, basically.
Thayer: How did your idea evolve at NEW INC?
Seymour: We had amazing advisors, like Andy Weissman from Union Square Ventures and John Maeda — he’s the former president of RISD and on the MIT Advisory Council. He really is an amazing brain in computer visualization design and computational design. And getting feedback from all the other members as well. Being able to just explore. Having access to this pool of people that are in the same mindset is amazing.
Thayer: What’s your vision for growing the company further?
Seymour: So we are not a B2C, direct-to-consumer brand. We are a B2B2C. Meaning the sensors are like zippers — trims — that are sold to brands, and/or manufacturers and/or they license it. We launched this MVP just for brands to sort of get an understanding of what this is, how we can collaborate, that we have all the manufacturing the supply chain lined up … and of course for investors to understand that yes we can actually make this happen.