Amsterdam-based wearable healthtech startup NOWATCH has raised $8.7 million in funding. The company’s flagship product, a watch with no face, is able to predict stress triggers and alert wearers up to an hour in advance. The new capital serves to turn the dials on R&D efforts, expanding the company's customer base, and augmenting the team size.
Developed in partnership with electronics giant Philips, according to the startup, they are the world’s first wearable device to measure and predict stress by measuring cortisol, the steroid hormone that helps regulate stress levels, through EDA (Electrodermal Activity) sensors.
Sporting an interchangeable gemstone face, in addition to monitoring cortisol levels, the device also measures sleep patterns, heart rate, and body temperature, to form a profile of its wearer.
Now if you’re like me, you might be thinking, ok, this is just another Fitbit, right? As it turns out, not so much.
As the vast majority of health and fitness trackers rely on heart-based measurements, by measuring galvanic skin response via the EDA, NOWATCH is able to tap into sweat gland activity, a function directly tied to the human body’s nervous system, i.e. the one responsible for triggering a fight or flight response to various stressors.
Founded by Hylke Muntinga and Timothée Manschot, the product has a deeply personal meaning to Muntinga who explained, "Between learning in 2019 that I have a rare genetic condition that will cost me my eyesight and experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic the next year, my personal priorities have shifted from planning and stress to a more mindful and present now. With the pandemic's globally reaching impact, I know I am not alone in this desire to increase awareness of my physical and mental health all whilst being more present."
"In the same way that cloud technology revolutionised the software industry, I'm confident that 'awareables' and predictive technology will reinvent the way we look at health, wellness, and mindfulness," commented Hall. "In partnering with Philips, NOWATCH's unique ability to help users understand and navigate their cortisol levels is set to redefine what we look for when shopping for smart devices - taking the guesswork out of our health."