CarePredict Set to Buy IP of San Antonio’s WiseWear From Bankruptcy
San Antonio—The intellectual property of WiseWear, the bankrupt company that sold fashionable wearable devices, may be sold to the new employer of WiseWear founder Jerry Wilmink.
CarePredict, a Plantation, FL-based business that sells wearable devices and software to assisted living facilities for monitoring residents, bid $110,000 to buy the intellectual property assets of WiseWear, according to a June 8 court filing. WiseWear filed a motion to have the bid approved, and the bankruptcy court in the western district of Texas set a hearing to rule on the sale July 3, according to court documents.
The intellectual property and WiseWear website were valued at $202,000 before the auction on May 31, according to bankruptcy documents. IP Valuation Partners, a Dallas-based patent investment company, also bid in the auction.
Founded in 2013, WiseWear built up its wearables business to the point that it was selling products in stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, and Nordstrom. Fashion icon and documentary subject Iris Apfel helped design some of the jewelry, which was geared toward elderly people and could send out emergency text messages and calls by tapping part of the bracelet or other devices. Like other wearable technology, the San Antonio company’s device could track users’ daily steps and the calories they burn, and it offered smartphone-enabled features such as calendar reminders that synced with a smartphone.
WiseWear contends in a bankruptcy filing that it ran into financial trouble because of a 2017 acquisition it made and a failure to raise a $2 million Series A round of financing. WiseWear had $8.4 million in liabilities before petitioning for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February, according to a court filing.
In the summer of 2017, WiseWear acquired Austin, TX-based Reserve Strap, a company that developed a wristband with an enclosed battery that could charge Apple smartwatches through a service port on the watch, according to a Feb. 28 bankruptcy filing. WiseWear accuses Apple of making Reserve Strap’s product unusable, the filing says. WiseWear alleged that Apple turned off the port through a change in the operating system, which the wearable company says amounted to an “illegal restraint of trade,” according to the document. Reverse Strap had problems with Apple adjusting the usability of the port dating back to at least 2016, according to news reports.
Still, WiseWear claims in bankruptcy documents that it would have been able to continue operations had it obtained the $2 million in equity funding it was seeking. In May 2017, Wilmink told Xconomy he had raised about $6.5 million in funding, although he said it wasn’t traditional venture capital and instead some came from individuals.
Since the bankruptcy filing, California-based Heritage Global Partners has been also auctioning off physical assets for WiseWear, such as a laser printer, work benches, computers, and various other office materials, for tens of thousands of dollars. CarePredict is slated to pay an additional $11,000 to Heritage for a buyer’s premium surcharge, according to court documents.
Wilmink took a new job in March as the chief business officer at CarePredict, according to his LinkedIn profile. CarePredict, which also has an office in Palo Alto, CA, sells software to assisted living facilities that tracks residents—their daily activities such as eating, drinking, sleeping, socializing, and any other activity. The system incorporates a wearable device called Tempo that pinpoints each resident’s location throughout the facility, according to the company’s website.
CarePredict’s software uses machine learning algorithms to provide context to a resident’s movements, location, and habits, according to the website. That, in theory, allows it to give staff insights into potential problems such as “memory issues, chronic conditions, urinary tract infections, fall risk, and the onset of depression,” according to CarePredict. The company also targets its products toward home care for the elderly.
WiseWear’s flagship products had similar qualities, particularly the emergency contact feature. Wilmink developed most of the company’s patented technology portfolio; he has a doctorate in biomedical engineering from Vanderbilt University, as well as an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. Notably, WiseWear developed another device that had even more in common with CarePredict’s system, though it never hit the market.
The device is a hearing aid that WiseWear has said uses internal sensors and electronics to monitor gait, balance, and other health factors in elderly people. WiseWear received a grant from the National Science Foundation in 2015 to develop algorithms that, when used with its technology, might be able to predict how likely it is that a person could fall and be injured, Wilmink told Xconomy last year before the bankruptcy filing.
Wilmink declined to comment for this story.