Fitbit’s IPO filing and the Apple Watch have dominated the headlines on wearables and healthtech this week. But a number of New England startups have been quietly working on related technologies that could also have a big impact.
One of those is Boston-based Neumitra, which has received a new investment from NetScientific, a U.K.-based healthcare tech company. Robert Goldberg, Neumitra’s founder and CEO, declined to disclose the amount. Neumitra previously raised funding from healthtech investor Rock Health, as well as Breakout Labs, a fund created by Peter Thiel to invest in science-based startups.
Neumitra has an ambitious goal: to quantify the brain’s health and understand how it is affected by stress and anxiety, on the scale of individuals, organizations, and eventually neighborhoods and cities. The company is developing wearable devices, including watches and jewelry that measure nervous-system responses, and software that tracks the conditions that trigger stress and looks for patterns in the data. The company’s ultimate aim is to help people deal with stress and lead healthier lives.
That’s much easier said than done. “Daily brain health is a global and expensive problem,” Goldberg said in an e-mail. “We all suffer today from poor sleep and too much stress, which both hasten chronic health concerns and their associated costs.”
Other Boston-area companies are developing devices and software to monitor health and analyze the data. They include Whoop (formerly known as Bobo Analytics) and Quanttus. Both have been pretty secretive about what they’re developing.
Whoop has been targeting athletes, presumably to monitor and boost their performance. The company has raised at least $9 million from investors including Atlas Venture (the tech side of the firm, temporarily called FKA), Founder Collective, and NextView Ventures. NextView’s David Beisel wrote on a blog last year that Whoop “provides for 24-hour continuous monitoring of the most essential kind: beat-by-beat heart rate data.”
Meanwhile, Quanttus has been working on wearable monitors and software that give a fuller picture of a person’s health. As of last year, the startup was developing products that could appeal to both consumers and clinicians. It has raised $22 million from Khosla Ventures and Matrix Partners.
But the biggest player in the field would be Apple with its new watch and health-monitoring applications. Jody Rosen of the New York Times Style Magazine calls the Apple Watch “both a screen and a hectoring aerobics instructor.” High praise, indeed, for a device that would target such a sedentary and screen-obsessed population.
Image courtesy of Keith Spiro Photography.
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