Sleep biometrics, remote healthcare, sports visualization draw millions in investment
Biometric health monitoring with wearables could reach potential new users numbering in the hundreds of millions as sub-$100 smartwatch sales surge over 500 percent. At the other end of the market, a firm selling biometric mattresses approaching $3,000 has raised almost $90 million in Series C funding. And in the busy sports biometrics market, Whoop plans to use investment to develop biometric visualization for athletes and their watching fans.
Smartwatch shipments increase 27 percent
Global smartwatch shipments increased 27 percent in 2021 Q2 compared to the same period last year, showing a recovery from COVID-19 reports Counterpoint Research. Samsung managed 43 percent and Garmin 62 percent growth, recording its highest ever shipments.
Apple maintained its top but shrinking position, down from a 30.1 percent market share to 28 percent, as the growing market pushed the Apple Watch active user base beyond 100 million. At the other end of the market, the sub-$100 segment grew 547 percent, bringing health biometrics to potentially hundreds of millions of more users. China, the second largest market after North America grew in terms of volume, but India grew from 2 percent of the global market to 6 percent in just a year.
Biometric bed company Eight Sleep gets $86M Series C funding
Eight Sleep makes mattresses with inbuilt sensors to capture biometrics such as heart rate, respiration rate and sleep stage. A unit placed by the bed and containing a reservoir also pumps warmed or cooled water through the mattress in order to improve quality of sleep. The system is controlled via its SleepOS platform and mobile app.
The company announces $86 million Series C funding to scale its ‘sleep fitness’ business and launch new technologies. The funding is led by Valor Equity Partners with participation from other funds including SoftBank, Khosla Ventures and General Catalyst.
Eight Sleep claims 25 percent better “sleep efficiency” with its biometric approach. It says users fall asleep 40 percent faster, get up to 20 percent more deep sleep, have 30 percent fewer wake ups during the night and up to 30 percent fewer tosses and turns.
BioIntelliSense closes oversubscribed $45M Series B
Continuous biometric monitor maker BioIntelliSense announces a further $45 million in funding, with investors keen to move into medical grade remote health monitoring due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Funding was led by Chimera (UAE) and included 7wire Technology Partners and Fresenius Medical Care North America.
The firm’s BioSticker and BioButton devices allow continuous biometric monitoring via its Data-as-a-Service platform. James Mault, CEO of BioIntelliSense, said, “With this strong financial support, the BioIntelliSense team will continue to innovate and commercialize its growing portfolio of medical grade wearables and data services across care settings, while making a profound impact on the delivery of personalized care, globally”.
“The burden of the COVID-19 pandemic and surging prevalence of chronic disease has resulted in exponential global demand for remote care technologies that provide better patient care at a fraction of the cost,” said Syed Basar Shueb, chairman of Chimera (UAE).
“BioIntelliSense is uniquely positioned to address health care provider and population-health initiatives with its proprietary portfolio of biosensors and data science that combines an unparalleled user experience with medical-grade clinical accuracy for cost-effective, scalable remote care.”
The firm recently partnered with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) to use the BioSticker continuous biometric health monitoring device in clinical trials with hematological cancer patients.
The wearable sticker has also been selected for an early COVID-19 detection trial by the U.S. DoD earlier this year.
SoftBank-led funding boost gives Whoop a $3.6B valuation
Biometric fitness tracking firm Whoop raised $200 million in Series F, bringing its valuation to $3.6 billion. The round was led by the SoftBank Vision Fund 2 with Cavu Ventures, Accomplice and Animal Capital also participating.
The firm has so far raised $400 million and plans to expand internationally. It has made 225 hires in the last 12 months and will open offices around the world in 2022. The firm is expected to use the new funds to invest in R&D and acquire other tech companies.
Whoop also plans to expand into professional sports with developments in biometric data visualization aimed not just at athletes but fans.
Whoop recently signed a deal with CrossFit to make a biometric bracelet the official wearable device of the sport and exercise program.