SEATTLE, Jan. 20, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- VICIS (VYE-sis), a privately held company developing an improved football helmet, today announced the closing of its $8,000,000 Series Seed financing. More than 140 investors contributed to the round, including Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach and biotech venture capitalist Robert Nelsen. Other investors were current and former NFL players and coaches, and prominent spine surgeons and neurosurgeons, some of whom discovered VICIS through the new angelMD platform.
Funding proceeds will be used to commercialize the company's innovative ZERO1™ football helmet, which will be available to select NFL and NCAA football teams this spring, and will be worn in competition during the 2016/17 season.
The ZERO1 results from more than two years of intense development during which VICIS worked closely with elite equipment managers and athletic trainers. Their input guided many of the features found in the ZERO1. VICIS engineers and neurosurgeons completely reimagined the football helmet, thoughtfully considering every detail including maintenance and usability.
The ZERO1 delivers multiple, long-overdue innovations. The most important advancement is its novel four-layer construction. The helmet's multiple layers are designed to work together to provide improved impact absorption and a comfortable, anatomically-optimized fit. Unlike today's market-leading helmets which are limited by hard exterior shells, the outer shell of the ZERO1 yields upon impact like a car bumper. During a collision, the LODE Shell™ gives way then rapidly returns to form before the next impact. This dynamic process slows impact forces, completes in milliseconds, and is invisible to the naked eye.
The ZERO1's unique columnar layer is designed to absorb impacts from any direction, allowing it to slow forces from straightforward collisions or glancing blows. The columnar geometry used in the CORE Layer™ is based upon engineering principles first described in the 18th century by Swiss physicist Leonhard Euler. The ZERO1's columns have been specifically tuned to optimally respond to impact velocities observed in elite levels of football.
After launching to NFL teams and NCAA football programs, VICIS plans to rapidly expand into the high school and youth categories, and eventually into other sports. Ultimately, the VICIS product portfolio will address a market exceeding $500 million.
"Innovation in football helmets has lagged," said Dave Marver, CEO of VICIS. "Our team of neurosurgeons and engineers has worked for more than two years to design and build a superior football helmet. The ZERO1 offers advancements in safety and performance that are long overdue."
The basic technologies in the ZERO1 originated at the University of Washington (UW) as a collaboration between the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Neurological Surgery. VICIS is UW's commercial partner and the global, exclusive licensee of the resulting intellectual property. The VICIS helmet design allowed UW to be named a Final Winner of the Head Health Challenge II, an effort to identify and support promising, preventive technologies sponsored by the NFL, Under Armour and GE.
VICIS was created in 2013 to develop an improved football helmet. The company leverages technology initially developed at University of Washington. VICIS investors include several prominent spine and neurological surgeons, current and former NFL players, the W Fund, Alliance of Angels, angelMD, and Trilogy Equity Partners. VICIS founders are Per Reinhall, PhD, Professor and Chair of Mechanical Engineering at UW; Samuel Browd, MD, PhD, Pediatric Neurosurgeon and Medical Director of the Sports Concussion Program at Seattle Children's Hospital; and Dave Marver, CEO and veteran of the medical technology industry. Inquiries can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit www.vicis.co.
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