NFL quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Alex Smith make another investment in helmet-maker Vicis

NFL quarterback Alex Smith steps back during a preseason game in 2017. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

NFL quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Alex Smith are re-upping their investment in Vicis.

The Seattle-based high-tech helmet maker expanded its Series B investment round by $1.5 million thanks to more cash from Rodgers and Smith.

Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers star, already invested in the round this past November via his venture capital fund Rx3 Ventures. Smith, now with the Washington Redskins, backed the company in 2017.

Total funding in Vicis is now more than $85 million. The company, which spun out of the University of Washington in 2014, is known for its $950 ZERO1 football helmet, used by players on nearly all NFL teams and more than 120 NCAA programs.

The ZERO1 helmet is engineered with multiple, specialized layers designed to mitigate impacts believed to cause concussions. It was one of Time Magazine’s 25 Best Inventions of 2017 and placed first in the NFL’s latest helmet safety test.

(Vicis Photo)

Vicis is also now targeting the youth football market. Last year it announced commercial availability of the $495 ZERO1 YOUTH helmet. There are already players on 1,200 high school teams wearing the helmet.

“We develop our protective technologies by working closely with subject-matter experts such as NFL players, equipment managers, and medical staff,” Vicis CEO Dave Marver said in a statement. “We are gratified by this additional investment from Alex and Aaron, and even prouder that our new youth helmet is in such high demand.”

Other current and former NFL players that have invested in Vicis include Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin, Roger Staubach, and Jerry Rice. Other backers include prominent spine and neurological surgeons; Cincinnati Reds minority owner Harry Fath; angelMD; W Fund; Alliance of Angels; and Trilogy Equity Partners.

Last year, Vicis announced a contract with the U.S. Army to improve the safety of Army and Marine Corps combat helmets.

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