Bia was the first by women for women lifestyle brand that married style and technology together to produce products that propel your inner athlete. This led to the creation of the first GPS sports watch, designed specifically for women.
Originally backed by a project on Kickstarter, with support from a startup accelerator program, and a team with experience from Apple, Nike, Jawbone, and Zoot.
Although you can no longer buy the Bia GPS sports watch directly from the company, you can sometimes find them listed on Amazon.
Who Were the Team Behind Bia?
Bia, a former Lemnos portfolio company, was founded by Cheryl Kellond. After raising over $400,000 in July 2012 through Kickstarter, Bia received an estimated $2.7M from two main investors: VTF Capital and Lemnos Labs – a respected hardware incubator in San Francisco.
As a company, Bia had 3 main members of staff, backed by a hardware team to develop the underlying technology that supports the watch functions.
- Cheryl Kellond, CEO / Co-Founder. Role: Hustler, Talent scout
Cheryl moved to Silicon Valley after graduating from MIT in 1996. She’s delivered over $750M in revenue from new products at startups and brand name companies such as Adobe, Yahoo! and E*TRADE. What started as a way to reset between kids has become a way of life.
- Sylvia Marino, CPO / Co-Founder. Role: Data lover, Operations guru
Sylvia was an early pioneer in online communities and social media dating back to 1996. She spent over 14 years helping grow companies and communities like Edmunds.com from scratch to millions of members.
After a season of triathlons, she realized open water swimming was her calling. She has over 125 Alcatraz crossings and was part of an all-women’s English Channel relay team.
- Tim Pfafman, Lead Architect. Role: Server guru who’s built this before
Tim’s built a sports tracking site and a GPS/GSM based tracking device. He has a BS from MIT and a PhD from Berkeley, has done work for NASA, and has founded and sold his own start-up.
Although Tim is a server side guru, he brought a full hardware team from his last job with him to Bia. Besides being a technical genius and all around good guy, Tim is also an avid cyclist.
The extended Bia team brought experience from Apple, Nike, Jawbone and Fitbit and worked with a leading manufacturing and supply chain firm.
How Was Bia Started?
Bia was the result of Cheryl and Sylvia’s frustration with the tools and products for women athletes.
- It was Cheryl’s fruitless search for a GPS watch that didn’t hurt her wrist or require instructions to use.
- It was Sylvia’s quest for one site to replace three sites, a calendar, and stacks of post-it notes.
The Bia GPS sports watch was originally brought to market after a successful Kickstarter project, where 2,118 backers pledged $408,160 to exceed their target of $400,000.
Benefits of the Bia, listed on the Kickstarter page, included a slim, lightweight design, no-wait GPS, and a must-have safety alert for solo workouts.
Kickstarter donation pledge rewards ranged from a mention on the website and product updates for $1, through to 5 Bia sports watches created in your own custom color, with custom bands and a Bia GPS Go Stick engraved withyour name or mantra of choice, for $10,000.
Important Bia Design Features
In addition to heart rate monitoring, the Bia sports watch and fitness tracker included three running modes: run, run/walk, and indoor running designed to work with a footpod sensor to accommodate all running needs. There’s also three triathlon modes: standard, duathlon, and aquathlon.
Main design features:
- Track Distance, Pace, Speed, Time, Heart Rate and Elevation for Running, Cycling, Swimming and more
- Unique SOS Alert for peace of mind on solo workouts
- Minute-by-minute live race day tracking for your friends and family
- Instant data syncing to your MapMyFitness dashboard (or online training log)
- Automatic upload to your Bia online training log and Strava, Map My Run, and Training Peaks
- 17 hours of battery life; Waterproof to 50 meters
Maximum Comfort and Safety
The entire Bia system consisted of a slim sport watch and a small clip called the GoStick, which talk to each other wirelessly. The GPS and connectivity that tracks your workout data is built into the Go Stick. It also enables you to activate the SOS alert.
The SOS feature is exclusive to the Bia, and one of the features most requested by women athletes. SOS Alerts can be activated by holding down the button on the watch for 3 seconds. Bia will text up to 5 contacts with your location letting them know you need help.
To cancel an SOS alert, hold down the button on your watch for another 3 seconds to let your contacts know you are ok.
The standard watch was available in a choice of 3 color combinations:
- Black / turquoise
- Black / firefly
- White / pink
What Could You Do With Bia?
- 1. Set a Goal: It doesn’t matter what your “first” is, Bia was designed to provide the tools, information, and support to help you achieve it.
- 2. Train: Whether you’re winging it or following a plan, the Bia GPS sports watch made planning and tracking workouts fun.
- 3. Connect: Everything is better when shared with your friends. Invite them in or find others who share your goals and passions.
- 4. Achieve: See progress and get actionable insights to help you achieve your goals and capture that endorphin high from every workout.