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LUMO Body Tech’s mission to end slouching and improve people’s health through smart sensors and big data just got a big vote of confidence.
On Wednesday, the company announced that it had raised $5 million in a Series A round of funding, led by Madrona Venture Group and including previous investors Innovation Endeavors (Eric Schmidt’s investment fund) and Jerry Yang.
The round comes on the heels of a successful Kickstarter campaign this summer intended to help the company bring its first product, a smart posture sensor, to market. The slim device fits around a person’s waist and tracks their posture throughout the day. When it senses that the wearer is slouching, the device vibrates and, via Bluetooth, sends the information to an iPhone app to help users track progress and provide feedback.
Co-founder and CEO Monisha Perkash said they looked to Kickstarter to answer the question “If we build it, will they come?”
The answer: yes. In a week, the company exceeded its $100,000 goal and, ultimately, raised more than double its target. Last month, the $149 dollar product started shipping to its more than 1,600 Kickstarter backers.
Devices like the FitBit, Nike FuelBand (s NKE) and BodyMedia products, which help people monitor their activity, are steadily gaining ground. But wearable devices, like LUMO’s smart posture sensor, will increasingly help people track other parts of their health. And, as the sensors and technology improve, they will only become more discrete.
Just this week, for example, Cambridge, Mass.-based mc10 announced that it had raised $10 million for its wearable flexible sensors that easily conform to the human body. In partnership with Reebok, it is expected to next year release a skullcap that could fit under an athlete’s helmet to determine the impact of a collision. And, according to the Wall Street Journal, it has a prototype of a sticker-like patch that could be placed directly on a person’s skin to help determine her skin type or measure her exposure to ultraviolet light and signal the need for more sunblock.
Perkash said LUMO will continue to evolve their products as technology advances and plans to expand beyond back sensors to a range of body sensing devices.
“They’re going to be products that help you with other aspects of your movement… for health, but also performance and avoiding injuries,” Perkash said.