With a Mechanical Engineering degree from Laval University and a Master in Applied Sciences from the University of Toronto, you would think Khalil Zahar would be settled into a position in a premier engineering firm. However, seven years ago, when he started to take on boxing as a sport, he knew he had a different calling.
“Maybe my company will fail, I’ll go bankrupt, I’ll lose my co-founders respect, and I’ll end up working at McDonald’s, or worse, in a large engineering firm. So why do all of this then ? Why risk it all?”
Some risks are simply worth taking. While learning and training to be a world-class boxer, he noticed many discrepancies. In a shared gym where both beginners and professionals trained, there were a variety of coaches, each teaching a variety of techniques and strategies depending on the boxer. Zahar noticed a lot of mixed or incorrect feedback, which could not only hinder an athlete’s ability to focus on key aspects for improvement, but also sometimes increase their risk of injury. Zahar then begin to think that these issues were not just limited to his gym, or even his sport - they were issues across the whole world of sports.
To capitalize on this insight, Zahar applied and was accepted to the Montreal Founder Institute, but did not know what to expect.
“When I got to the first Founder Institute session and the director’s first sentence is - ‘Alright guys, congratulations for being selected. The reality is 70 % of you will fail this program’…I was like ‘FINALLY!’. Something that feels a bit real.”
The structured and incredibly challenging Founder Institute curriculum forced Zahar and his team to accelerate the production of their product, but Zahar's strong performance in the program resulted in a successful Graduation of his new company, Hykso. He recalls his time in the program by saying:
“I got to see how a successful entrepreneur would run my project and in what order they would do things. The battle’s far from over, but I went from 0.1% knowledge about how to do things to 1.3 %. Considering this is a 1300 % increase, that’s an awesome return on the investment."
While many sports gadgets today are designed for the average fitness techie, Hykso focuses on offering advanced telemetry that helps professional athletes avoid injury and optimize training routines.
Hykso currently is currently refining their product while partnering with Boxing Canada, Canada’s national team, and collaborating with Caroline Veyre, a potential medalist at the next Olympics. In addition, Hykso has recently been accepted to the Winter 2018 batch of Y Combinator - widely respected as the world's premier seed accelerator, with alumni like Dropbox, AirBnb, Zenefits, and more.
August 2015: Hykso is featured in Wearable Technologies
November 2015: Hysko is featured in Global News
April 2017: Hykso featured in Forbes
2015: Officially Partners with Showtime
August 2015: Hykso Officially Partners with Boxing Canada
February 2016: Hykso Accepted Into Y Combinator
January 2018: Hykso used by Connor McGregor to train for fights