New MC10 CEO Hopes to Drive More Products for Wearable Electronics

Pioneering wearable electronics company MC10, which makes flexible sensors that can wirelessly monitor biological data while sticking close to the skin, has recruited a new leader to help it bring more products to market.

Cambridge, MA-based MC10 is announcing today that it has hired former Broadcom executive Scott Pomerantz as its new CEO. He replaces founding CEO David Icke, whose departure comes about nine months after the company raised a $20 million investment round.

MC10 didn’t have much to say about the reasons for Icke’s departure—he wasn’t mentioned in the press release announcing Pomerantz’s hiring. Asked for more detail, the company said “the change is consistent with MC10’s trajectory of growth as an organization. We are bringing in leadership with the background and experience to best position MC10 moving forward.”

So what’s Pomerantz’s background? Until recently, he was a senior vice president managing the wireless connectivity business for Broadcom. Pomerantz joined the semiconductor company in 2007 after it spent $143 million to acquire Global Locate, a GPS startup he co-founded.

Pomerantz

Pomerantz

In an interview, Pomerantz said the frontier for wearable electronics reminds him of the GPS sector when Global Locate got its start in 2000.

“One of the great things about the business was, every day, somebody called with a new idea. And one of the bad things about the business was, every day, somebody called with a new idea,” he said. “When you’re a startup, you can’t do everything. You have to focus.”

It’s pretty common to see CEO swaps at companies in MC10’s position. Founded in 2008, it’s raised some $60 million in private investment cash to commercialize technology that emerged from research at Harvard and the University of Illinois. But its technology is still looking for more ways to get into widely used products.

So far, MC10 has announced two major partnerships. The Checklight, sold by Reebok for $150, is a skullcap for athletes that measures blows to the head and flashes red, yellow, and green lights to signal whether concussion testing is in order. The company also is working with UCB, a Belgian pharmaceutical company that wants to see how data gathered from MC10’s thin, stick-on flexible sensors might help it treat neurological diseases.

Those deals show where MC10 has hoped to develop products: sports and health. You’re seeing a lot of attention to those areas by the biggest tech companies on the planet, too—just last week, Apple finally announced its long-rumored smartwatch, which includes motion and health-tracking sensors.

MC10 sees its flexible circuitry as much more advanced than a touchscreen on a watchband, especially for tracking physiological data.

“You always have to have it on—you don’t want to wear it for three months and then throw it into a drawer,” he says. But if you can manage to get nearly continuous wear of a device, “the data it can provide is phenomenal.”

Time will tell if Pomerantz is able to help MC10 get its technology into more products. But he claims the company is close to being able to supply certain products at scale without much fuss—“where we can answer the phone and say, `How many, and what color?’”

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