The Story of Pykrs: Innovation in Smart Clothing

By Edwin

Juan Roca, the founder of an access control company established a decade ago, found himself at a crossroads in mid-2020 when innovation ceased to be a priority for his company. Unwilling to let go of this crucial aspect, Roca decided it was time to embark on a new entrepreneurial journey. He envisioned delving into connectivity and the Internet of Things within a relatively unexplored sector. The answer was right in front of him: Pykrs emerged onto the scene with a groundbreaking smart jacket featuring fall detection and distress notifications among other functionalities.

To bring this vision to life, Roca partnered with Rafael Nieto, an electronic engineer who had previously worked on a semi-smart vest for truck drivers, serving as the foundation for their new venture. “Our initial challenge was finding a supplier willing to create our first prototype,” comments Nieto, a 32-year-old native of Barcelona. The garment’s specifications, including specific materials, a heating system, and electronic components, posed a challenge for manufacturers. “When you approach a supplier and tell them about all these requirements, it’s overwhelming for them. They ask, ‘Okay, but how many thousands of units do you want to produce?'”

At that moment, they only needed one prototype to present to a crowdfunding platform. Once achieved, the next step was to prepare the campaign. “There’s a lot of work behind it, many hours of research, photos, videos, comparisons,” recalls Roca, a graduate in Business Administration. “That also took us a lot of time.”

After investing thousands of euros in promotion and raising approximately €30,000, they initiated production in April 2022. They have currently developed jackets for both men and women, priced between €550 and €700, equipped with lights and a heating system powered by batteries lasting between two and seven hours. With two employees and three collaborators, they have generated €50,000 in revenue, halfway toward their €100,000 target for this fiscal year. They are also finalizing new products such as a backpack and a motorcycle jacket.

Introduction: The Genesis of Pykrs

In the dynamic landscape of entrepreneurship, there are moments when founders encounter a juncture, a pivotal point where the status quo no longer aligns with their vision. For Juan Roca, the founder of an access control company, this moment arrived in mid-2020. Having founded his company a decade ago, Roca found himself grappling with a dilemma: innovation had ceased to be a focal point for his business. However, rather than succumbing to complacency, Roca perceived this as an opportunity to embark on a new venture, one that would merge his passion for innovation with the burgeoning realm of connectivity and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Thus, Pykrs was born—a venture set to revolutionize the apparel industry with its pioneering smart clothing solutions. Central to Pykrs’ ethos was the belief that technology should seamlessly integrate into everyday life, enhancing functionality and safety without compromising style or comfort. At the helm of this endeavor stood Roca, accompanied by Rafael Nieto, an adept electronic engineer whose expertise would prove instrumental in realizing Pykrs’ vision.

Setting the Foundation: From Concept to Creation

The inception of Pykrs was not merely the result of happenstance but rather a convergence of foresight, determination, and technical acumen. Roca and Nieto, cognizant of the nascent potential within the smart clothing market, embarked on a journey to conceptualize a product that would transcend conventional boundaries.

Their journey commenced with the identification of a critical need—a gap within the market that begged to be filled. Drawing inspiration from Nieto’s prior experience in designing a semi-smart vest for truck drivers, the duo recognized an opportunity to expand upon this foundation and delve into the realm of wearable technology.

However, the path from concept to creation was fraught with challenges, chief among them being the procurement of a suitable supplier willing to collaborate on their inaugural prototype. Nieto reflects on this initial hurdle, recounting the skepticism encountered when presenting their ambitious specifications to potential manufacturers. The intricate blend of materials, heating systems, and electronic components seemed daunting to prospective partners, who often queried the scale of production envisaged by Roca and Nieto.

Undeterred by these initial setbacks, the duo persevered, driven by a shared vision of pioneering innovation within the apparel industry. With unwavering determination and a clear roadmap delineating their objectives, Roca and Nieto secured the necessary resources to commence the prototyping phase.

Prototyping and Validation: Transforming Vision into Reality

The journey from concept to prototype epitomized the epitome of perseverance and ingenuity for Roca and Nieto. Armed with a singular prototype, the duo ventured into the realm of crowdfunding, leveraging digital platforms to showcase the transformative potential of their smart jacket.

The crowdfunding campaign served as a litmus test, validating the market demand for Pykrs’ innovative solution. However, behind the scenes, a meticulous process unfolded—a symphony of research, development, and refinement aimed at perfecting every facet of the product.

Roca, drawing upon his background in Business Administration, spearheaded the strategic aspects of the campaign, meticulously crafting compelling narratives and immersive experiences to captivate potential backers. Meanwhile, Nieto’s technical expertise was instrumental in fine-tuning the intricacies of the smart jacket, ensuring seamless integration of electronic components and optimal performance.

The culmination of these efforts heralded a watershed moment for Pykrs—the transition from prototype to production. In April 2022, Pykrs commenced mass production of its flagship smart jacket, marking the fruition of months of dedication and perseverance.

Market Penetration and Expansion: Scaling Pykrs’ Footprint

The launch of Pykrs’ smart jacket heralded a new chapter in the company’s journey—a testament to Roca and Nieto’s unwavering commitment to innovation and excellence. With production underway, the focus shifted towards market penetration and expansion, as Pykrs endeavored to carve a niche within the competitive landscape of smart clothing.

Central to Pykrs’ market strategy was a keen emphasis on product differentiation and value proposition. In a market saturated with conventional apparel offerings, Pykrs sought to distinguish itself through a fusion of cutting-edge technology and impeccable craftsmanship.

The smart jacket, adorned with an array of features including fall detection and distress notifications, encapsulated Pykrs’ commitment to blending form and function seamlessly. Moreover, the incorporation of innovative heating systems and battery technology underscored Pykrs’ relentless pursuit of excellence, setting a new benchmark for smart clothing solutions.

Future Prospects: Pioneering Innovation in Wearable Technology

As Pykrs continues to chart new horizons within the realm of wearable technology, the journey ahead brims with boundless potential and opportunity. Buoyed by the success of their inaugural product, Roca and Nieto remain steadfast in their commitment to pushing the boundaries of innovation and redefining the future of smart clothing.

Looking ahead, Pykrs envisions a future where technology seamlessly integrates into every facet of daily life, transcending traditional boundaries and enriching the human experience. With a steadfast dedication to research and development, Pykrs aims to unveil a diverse portfolio of smart clothing solutions, catering to the evolving needs and preferences of consumers worldwide.

In the quest for innovation, Pykrs remains unwavering in its commitment to excellence, poised to embark on a journey that transcends the confines of imagination and sets a new paradigm for wearable technology. As the world embraces the era of interconnectedness and digital innovation, Pykrs stands at the forefront, a beacon of ingenuity and inspiration in a rapidly evolving landscape.