Asics Ventures, the investment subsidiary of sportswear brand Asics, has made its first investment, taking a stake in Ai Silk Corporation, a Japanese start-up affiliated with Tohoku University that is developing conductive textiles.

Ai Silk was founded in 2015 and specialises in conductive textiles that are comfortable on the skin, utilising technology researched by Tohoku University. Many devices that gather the body’s data from the skin tend to irritate the wearer’s skin when used over extended periods of time, whereas Ai Silk has developed a proprietary silk textile conductive technology that is gentle on the skin. The fabric is highly absorbent and causes limited allergic reaction and the fabric permits high conductivity and data gathering is extremely user-friendly.

Asics has stated that the technology will be used together with Asics Institute of Sport Science’s expertise in developing sports apparel made of high-performance materials.

One of the core strategies in Asics growth plan 2020 is to create distinctive innovations and the sportswear brand has been focusing on developing revolutionary products, services, and processes that could change customers’ lifestyles and experiences.

Asics Ventures was launched in November 2016 in order to pursue innovations at a faster pace, and has been collaborating with venture companies with leading-edge products, technologies, and personnel.