Matthew Dellavedova helped put Whoop on the map when he was ordered to take it off.
Dellavedova, then a backup guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers, spent much of early 2016 wearing the company’s wristband during games before the National Basketball Association told him to take it off because it violated league rules. The order generated a flurry of headlines for the company, which employs about 50 people in an office near Fenway Park. It also spotlighted the growing role that technology is playing in sports as athletes and teams seek to quantify fitness and health in hopes of maximizing both.
The Whoop band, which resembles a Fitbit, uses sensors to keep track of athletes’ fitness and strain levels, and it monitors how near they are to being fully physically recovered from their activity and travel — almost like a health meter for video game characters. Based on that data, the device makes recommendations, like how much sleep its wearer should get on a given night.
While Dellavedova brought attention to Whoop by working outside the rules, the company has since gotten some official validation. Before this season and after a pilot program in the minor leagues last year, Major League Baseball and its players union gave the OK for players to wear Whoop straps during games, making it one of just a few in-game wearable technologies baseball has approved. In April, the device got similar approval from the NFL Players Association.