Health and fitness startup SujiBFR has received a six-figure investment to support the development of a smart fitness device.
The wearable Suju Device aims to improve muscle performance and reduce pain during exercise.
Based on blood flow restriction (BFR) training principles, the artificial intelligence-powered device utilises low-intensity and bodyweight exercise to offer the same training benefits achieved with high-intensity weight training.
Tennis champion Jamie Murray and his partner Alejandra Murray invested in SujiBFR during an investment round led by BioCity Group.
The Murrays join investors Scottish Enterprise, Gabriel Investment Syndicate and Creator Fund.
The investment will be used for product development, to accelerate customer growth and create additional technical jobs in the firm.
The backing comes as SujiBFR announces a partnership with the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), the national governing body for tennis in Great Britain.
The partnership – understood to be the first of its kind with a national governing body – means the LTA Performance team can assign Suji Devices to players on tour.
It will also be one of a number of technologies available at its National Tennis Centre, for players supported through the governing body’s Elite, Pro Scholarship and Men’s & Women’s Programmes.
SujiBFR’s founder, Alexander Birks, set up the company after a successful career in boxing.
“The idea for SujiBFR grew out of my own experience recovering from a traumatic sports injury,” he said. “I felt frustrated by the length of time it would take to return to peak performance and started looking for fitness solutions that could help.
“After reaching out to sports professionals, I realised that BFR training was recognised as a powerful tool for mitigating pain and strengthening muscles using low-intensity exercise.
“My own BFR training was successful, but it also demonstrated that existing equipment was inadequate, requiring extensive user knowledge and offering a poor user experience.
“I created SujiBFR to fill that gap and make effective and safe BFR training accessible to everyone, not only the professionals but the huge number of fitness enthusiasts who could benefit from this technology.
“The device can be used by anyone to help reduce pain and improve muscular performance.
“The connected app safely guides users through set-up and use while their progress is logged after each training session.”
Jamie Murray believes the system could benefit athletes at every level. “Everyone is aware of the challenges of avoiding and overcoming injury, not to mention the joint and muscle pain that can be experienced during training.
“SujiBFR has taken the scientifically proven benefits of BFR and incorporated these into a device that is easy to use, safe and effective.”
By using a cuff to restrict blood flow to muscles during low-load exercise, BFR provokes a physiological response comparable to that achieved in normal workouts.
By ‘tricking’ the body into believing it is working at a much higher capacity, the technique improves muscular performance, strengthens tendons and bones and can offer benefits to the cardiovascular system.