Oura raises $100M, Sencure $1.8M in busy biometric wearables market
Oura secures the headline figure, but Sencure has also raised funding to develop its wearable biometrics for health monitoring, as the space continues to see increased activity. PhysIQ has joined a high-profile partnership to research COVID-19, BioIntelliSense and Biostrap have been chosen for remote patient monitoring and astronaut training, respectively, while startup Nextiles is hoping to expand the possibilities of what we can wear to collect health data.
Oura attracts major investment
Oura has raised $100 million to scale its biometric fitness-tracking wearable business with new hiring, marketing and customer experience investments, along with further research and development.
The Series C funding round was led by The Chernin Group and Elysian Park, with further participation by both new and existing investors.
The company has now sold more than 500,000 of its biometric rings, and its health biometrics have been used for early COVID-19 detection through close temperature monitoring less prone to failure than many infrared thermometers.
“This year has shined a spotlight on gaps in our healthcare industry, and the increasing need for each of us to take control over our own health,” Forerunner Managing Director Eurie Kim said in a press release. “Oura is emerging as the trusted leader and community in the space by empowering people with personalized data that provides actionable insights for health improvement.”
The company has now raised $148.3 million in total.
PhysIQ partners with DoD, Universities on COVID research
Biometric wearable monitoring technology from physIQ will be used in COVID-19 research through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), Duke University, Johns Hopkins and The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc. (HJF).
PhysIQ’s pinpointIQ platform will be used to collect and analyze the continuous flow of biometric data at the universities for the study. The company has also participated in a study by Purdue University on early COVID-19 detection.
“This continued work will expand our understanding of COVID-19 infection severity trajectories and will provide the data necessary for developing a continuous, and objective biosensor-based analytic to serve as a proxy for subjective patient severity surveys,” comments physIQ Chief Science Officer Stephan Wegerich.
Sencure raises $1.8M to develop biometric wearable sensors
Sencure has raised €1.5 million (US$1.8 million) to enhance biometric wearable sensors and medical monitoring devices with its sensors.
The funding round was led by Cottonwood Technology Fund, with participation from Lumana Invest.
The company says in an announcement it intends to advance medical wearables with innovative biometric technology based on high-quality chips for measuring physiological signals. A new chip is planned for initial production in the first quarter of 2022.
“Sencure will continue to collaborate with ItoM to develop power-efficient and high-quality integrated circuits – chips – for measuring physiological parameters such as heart activity (electrocardiogram), muscle activity (electromyography), and brain activity (electroencephalogram),” states Sencure CEO Jurryt Vellinga. “These chips will empower the next generation of wearable biometric solutions and other medical devices required by the increasing shift to remote health monitoring and telehealth.”
BioIntelliSense partners with remote care technology provider
Aloe Health Care, which provides a voice-activated medical alert system and caregiver support platform, has selected BioIntelliSense’s medical grade biometric remote patient monitoring wearable devices and data services.
The BioIntellisense BioButton and FDA-cleared BioSticker will connect to the Aloe Care Smart Hub via Bluetooth for full-service remote patient monitoring, starting in the second half of 2021. The devices are worn on the upper chest for what the company calls a “stick it on and forget it” user experience, and track respiratory, heart rate, temperature, body position, activity and gait biometrics.
“This combination is truly the next generation of remote patient monitoring,” says Ray Spoljaric, CEO and co-Founder of Aloe Care Health. “Telemedicine and remote care are here to stay, and the advances made by the team at BioIntelliSense are playing a critical role in the speed and efficacy with which care is delivered. They were an obvious choice to become the first RPM devices certified on the Aloe Care Health platform.”
Biostrap biometrics selected for astronaut training
Biostrap has reached a deal to provide its biometric wearables to astronaut career training provider AdvancingX to enhance the safety and performance of candidates.
The training, designed by former NASA astronauts, includes extreme physical and mental stress, and Biostrap’s wrist-worn biosensor will play a key role in monitoring candidates, and may eventually play a role in developing interventions to keep astronauts safe on Earth and in space, according to the announcement.
“Through continuous biometric monitoring as well as comprehensive sleep and activity analysis, we can start to establish baselines on an individual level and monitor the effects of stress as per deviations in that baseline,” says Kevin Longoria, chief science officer at Biostrap.
Biometrics from fabrics
Another wearable form factor providing health data is “smart fabric,” provided by companies including Nextiles, as The Washington Post reports.
Nextiles has received funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation, and is developing sportwear with biometric tracking of health data, including heart rate and respiration. Its first products are arm and knee sleeves.
Tech giants have dabbled in the form factor, and academics have been researching the possibilities of smart fabrics. Nextiles is working on patents for heart rate measurement and temperature tracking, and its fabrics sense movement.
The future of the technology, with high current costs but possible applications extending beyond wearables to markets like automobiles, where they could be built into car upholstery, is highly uncertain.