Today we have the honor to interview Kyle Harris, CEO of Brainlit, a leading health & wellness platform offering biocentric light that supports performance & recovery of athletes.
BrainLit will be exhibiting and speaking at our NY Sports tech Summit at Citi Field on November 15, so if you want to book a meeting with the BrainLit team click on the link below:
Founded in 2012, BrainLit is a health technology company, that focuses on light to deliver significant health and well-being improvements. With Biocentric lighting, indoor environments are enhanced to help players, coaches, and staff entrain their bodies to their natural circadian rhythm to avoid sleep disruption. The platform is future-proof and allows for patented recipe development to meet an organization’s requirements whether it be pre-game focus/energy, post-game decompression/relaxation, and jetlag mitigation.
The Brainlit platform can be implemented as a floorlamp (Alven, see photos) or full enterprise-wide facilities enhancement (Elven). More focus and energy during the day, better sleep, and recovery at night create a passive advantage for organizations seeking better health, wellness, and performance.
Here are some pictures of BrainLit’s products such as the Alven (Right).
Pictures: Alven (Right)
There is a growing interest in the use of light to improve athletic performance. Light is the most important external synchronizer for the circadian rhythms in the body, which affects our performance during the day. Biocentric lighting, which supports our circadian rhythm, can therefore be useful for elite athletes.
Optimal training environments all day long.
Balancing training, work commitments, family and personal life is a difficult challenge for an elite athlete and many times sleep pay the price. Studies report a decrease in endurance performance, where diminished motivation due to sleep deprivation is thought to be part of the explanation.¹ With Biocentric lighting, the training environment can help athletes entrain their bodies to their natural circadian rhythm to avoid sleep disruptances.
Here is a video testimonial from the Jokerit Hockey team in Helsinki (Finland):
BrainLit is trusted by pro teams and leagues across the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, IMSA, NASCAR, Premier League, and CPL.
📝Show Notes: Through this interview, we touched on his background, and his company and product. We also discussed the benefits for sports organizations and athletes to use their product. Lastly we talked about their competitive advantage, business model and plans for the next 12 months.
Best Quotes: Here’s some of the key discussion points and best quotes from our conversation with Kyle:
On his background:
“I started off in government sales where I was working with the U. S. Navy. Then I moved into a global marketing role at the New York Mercantile Exchange, doing big corporate marketing projects. Then after that I got my MBA from Thunderbird I started working on commercializing early-stage technologies”.
“So my career has gone from different startups or different early stage companies, helping them accelerate, putting together the management teams, and working with investor groups”.
On BrainLight's core product called biocentric light and how it works:
“So BrainLight's core product is called biocentric light. For the lack of a better description, it brings natural sunlight, the power of the sun indoors to help create healthy workplace environments or team environments, and allows for the best circadian alignment”.
“So if you were in outdoor environments, like a cave person, you would have gotten a lot more sun than we get today. So right now, most humans are chronically under lit because we spend way too much time indoors. We don't get enough natural sun light stimulation. And therefore our circadian rhythms are out of whack. That means our sleep patterns are not as good as they can be and our sleep latency is very long”.
“We also put a lot more blue light into our environments in the evening which suppresses our natural ability to go to sleep and stay asleep. So if you are exposed to a biocentric environment, we're about as close to a perfect sunlight environment without the UV risk, skin cancer risk, you create the best focus, energy, jet lag mitigation, and then because you get good light triggers throughout the day, you're then sleeping better at night, which means that you go to sleep faster and you get more complete sleep cycles, which allows for better muscular repair and brain repair because you're able to flush a lot of the plaque out of the brain while you're sleeping”.
“So the synergistic cycles are highly energized focused days. And then you get better sleep and recovery at night. And then we have capabilities in our platform to do specific tactical implementations where during pre game you can focus on the team and then post game you can help with decompression to allow athletes to go home and sleep faster”.
On the fact their lighting system is adaptable as they have individual lamps as well as lighting systems that are fully integrated into the training facility (locker room..):
“We have an individual lamp, like I have above my head here, which is used in recovery stations, compression booths, massage tables, recovery spaces”.
“And then we have full building build-outs where you're installing in the ceiling lights and the controller to create the environments that then extends health to player, coaches, and staff. So instead of having a singular recovery product that supports a singular player, when you build out a biocentric arena, stadium, or training facility, everyone that works in that facility is in a better, more holistic health environment”.
On their lighting systems are being used by teams and athletes:
“The personal lamp, the Alven, is something that athletes can put in their homes. If you think about the typical training day, On a non game day, you may show up in the morning and workout, depending on the sport. Then you eat. You're usually out of the facility by the early afternoon”.
“So if you're in a biocentric environment, you're getting all of that good energizing morning light and early afternoon light, which is building that kind of robust light energy and cortisol loading that you want to have to be most ready for your day naturally”.
“And then you're into your home environment where you're going to go to sleep. In a game day environment when you show up in the later afternoon for that evening start, the environment has been elevated with Biocentric light to keep you energized and focused pregame and then postgame the bluelight energy is taken out of the system so that you can decompress and go home more quickly and you are able to fall asleep faster”.
“So if you train in the facility or you work out in the facility or you come to work every day in a biocentric environment you're getting the daylight portion of the day, and then at night, you're better prepared for more rapid sleep onset and better sleep and things like that”.
On the fact that if athletes get the right loading and right melanotic environment where they are building a full hormonal load, they will sleep better at night:
“So if you're able to get the right light loading and then the right melanopic entrainment where you're building a full hormonal load, then you have more throughout the night. So that means you actually will stay asleep and you actually have more complete, full sleep cycles”.
“Typically what's happening is your body doesn't have enough of the right hormones to keep you asleep. So your sleep hygiene, when you eat, how much caffeine you intake during the day, the light you get is kind of the full program of things you need to have discipline around”.
“But if you get the right light energy, then you'll get to your maximum potential opportunity with your hormone system. And then as long as you don't put a lot of blue light in your face, drink a lot of coffee, have a huge meal, those are the things that can help you have good sleep”.
“But if you're able to get biocentric light throughout your day, that should help you perfect your sleep as well as you can. And you're actually going to be combating some of the other bad activities, like too much blue light at night impacting good energy loading during the day”.
On some of the teams (Sacramento Kings/NBA, Cols/NFL, Lions/NFL..) and leagues using their products today:
“As an example, right now, the Sacramento Kings (NBA) have just renovated their game day locker room. It's the first phase of some work we're doing with them. So we are talking about a big marquee name of someone that's actually evaluated and now deployed into what was the 2017 greenest, smartest arena in the NBA”.
“Otto Wallin is a Swedish boxer He's now ranked second or third in the world. He's a heavyweight champion. He's been using biocentric light. He says that he feels that it helps him with his early morning wake-up routine, with focus and energy. And he uses it when he travels for jet lag mitigation. So that's one big entity that's using it”.
“If you watch on HBO the show called Hard Knock, you'll see the Colts (NFL) and the Lions (NFL). And it's actually in the show in the team facilities. So those are the other two NFL teams that have used it. The Lions have put out a press release saying that they found it supportive to their players”.
“We've done NFL teams that have gone to Europe to play games. We've done pop up zones for them to mitigate jet lag issues. We have a couple of new European Premier League teams that have converted portions of their facilities to Biocentric light, and there are more in the works”.
On the fact they did a study with a performance group at an organization that showed that all people had an improvement of 8% to 15% in their sleep patterns:
“We did a specific study with a performance group at an organization that has to remain unnamed, but when we put the Alven into the home of those employees and they work from home three days a week. As a results of that we saw across Oura Ring data that all the people had an uptick in the positive direction of 8% to 15% in their sleep patterns, and readiness scores. They were sleeping more and better”.
On their competitive advantages:
“We're grounded in science. We have a very strong scientific advisory board that keeps us on the straight and narrow path. The fact that we were founded by the creator of Bluetooth gives us credibility as he understands platform building and future proofing of technology”.
“We've put a lot into the design of our platform to allow organizations that invest in biocentric light to get them long-term benefits. It's not something you have to pull out of the ceiling in a few years. The system will get smarter as the science gets smarter. And then that upgrade path is how you're getting a long-term investment versus just buying lights”.
“LED is great. It's energy efficient. It has long, useful life for one thing, and good visual capabilities. We can make it visually more supportive, visually beautiful. But then also have it where the health science can get smarter as science evolves. That's what the platform does. So you're making a long-term investment in a commodity, which is light. And then you're turning that investment into basically something that evolves over time. As the science gets smarter, as Brainlit gets smarter, then the organization can get smarter”.
On their business model:
“It's a pretty straightforward model. You have Alven, which is the floor lamp version, which are single item purchases. And then everything else would be more towards a renovation or a new build. When you're thinking about renovating a training facility or arena, we work with you and your engineers and designers to put in the biocentric capabilities. And it's installed and then we support the system with you as a partner going forward”.
On some future announcements in the MLB, European soccer, and Canada:
“We're getting ready for a pretty interesting set of baseball announcements with some other stuff coming down and then we've got some good European soccer announcements and that's big projects that are already queued up”.
“So we're in a really exciting position as a company. We just renovated the Canadian Premier League headquarters in Toronto. That's a commercial real estate implementation at a league office level. These are some of the projects we're doing in Canada as well”.
On their plans for the next 12 months:
“To some extent our goal is to sell, sell, sell. We've done a really interesting, product market fit. We've got some new product launches. So now we're rapidly expanding across the four major leagues (NBA, NFL, MLB, MLS) here in the U S. We have very good penetration. Because they're new building or renovation deals, they can take long lead times. We have quite a few of those coming down the pipe, which are fantastic”.
“And we're a commercial product. We don't just stay only in sports. So we have some fairly large retail customers that are building out stores, convenience customers that are building out stores as well. So we have a lot of stuff going on. If you think about it, any place that someone works indoors with light above their head, it can be made to be a healthy workplace environment”.
“We've got some long term care facilities coming down the pipe, some hospitals throughout North America and then our European business, we're even looking at the Middle East now or Spain or UK footprint. So a lot of it is just bringing what's now kind of a coalescing of the standards and the science. And the awareness that something like biocentric light exists, bringing it for sale. And then we're also in the middle of a capital raise right now but we have some interesting U.S. investors that are looking to help us grow into the US market, but we're always looking for that strong strategic investor that brings that something else in addition to cash”.
“We have some really strong conversations with some ownership groups that happened to own a couple of teams that they can directly benefit from their own installations. But then we have another portion of their portfolio that could benefit of making their staff and employees healthy as well. So we have a lot of exciting things to announce in this coming year. And we look forward to putting out a lot of really amazing announcements. And I think once people understand that you can be working in a space that makes you healthy by just going to work”.
On who they typically work with (Real estate lead, head of performance..) within the teams:
“Typically the performance execs always get asked as to whether they understand it and would use it. Because it's something that's in the ceilings they has to engage the real estate guys because it's a facilities issue typically. I don't know that we ever get a no initially from facilities, and that they wouldn't want it because the performance team always wants that advantage or incremental value proposition and real estate is always going to buy lights, why not healthy”.
“So really, whatever door we kind of come down to, we talk to the real estate team then the performance team. And when it is time to do a real estate deal, then why wouldn't the performance staff buy it? Once you know that there's something called healthy life, biocentric light, how do you choose not to buy healthy if it contributes to success, recovery, sleep, energy focused and a better immune system?”.
On the best way to contact Kyle and his team:
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