This “Clinical-Grade” Wearable Technology Startup Just Raised $19M

Posted in Mobile Health by Arundhati Parmar on February 24, 2014

Wearable technologies aim to be inconspicuous while at the same time offering people data on how their bodies are doing. Quanttus wants to make such a wearable but provide more robust, clinical-grade vital signs monitoring.  

Wearable technology is all the rage these days.

The quantified self movement, which has its skeptics, has resulted in numerous devices with sensor technologies that purportedly can tell you everything about your body - sleep, heart rate, posture, activity levels and myriad other things. The goal is to arm people with data that can help them change their behavior and become more healthy.

Cambridge, Massachusetts startup Quanttus is an integral part of this trend, and yet aims to stand apart from it.

The startup announced Monday that it has raised $19 million in Series A financing from Khosla Ventures, a venture capital founded by Vinod Khosla, and Matrix Partners. Previously, Khosla, co-founder of Sun Microsystems and Silicon Valley venture capitalist, provided a $3 million seed capital to the wearables company.

““There is a lot of excitement around wearables, but what makes Quanttus different is the sophistication of its technology," said Stan Reiss, general partner at Matrix Partners, in a news release. “Quanttus was developed for a specific purpose by a very serious technical and design team out of MIT. It is not a reaction to a trend but rather combines groundbreaking research with meaningful data in an elegant form factor.”

The company is in stealth mode and so very few details about the product is available. An outside spokeswoman provided the following statement:

Quanttus technology is able to extract signals from multiple locations on the body, and the company is testing various locations, including the wrist. The company is exploring a few different form factors—the primary emphasis is on developing a technology that is transparent to the user. That easily becomes part of everyday life and is appropriate for your daily workout or a night on the town. The Quanttus design team includes experts who have worked on the IDEO healthcare portfolio and the Nike Fuelband, and they have come up some very compelling designs.

While making the product appealing to the consumer is a natural goal similar to the  plethora of wearables being developed and in the market, Quanttus aims to take this a step further. The goal is to develop wearables that can provide “clinical grade vital signs monitoring” while also "leveraging advances in contextual analysis.”

Aside from MIT, the technology comes from a variety of sources, such as Nike, Apple, IDEO and Massachusetts General Hospital.

The Quanttus platform will comprise:
Wearable technologies that can capture and analyze more than half a million vital sign data points per day
Applications that translate this data into real-time insights to help people make choices that improve their health

“Quanttus is pushing monitoring into many high value use cases from cardiac disease and hypertension monitoring to stress,” said Vinod Khosla of Khosla Ventures, in a statement. “The team’s approach to using real-time physiological data will create powerful new tools for consumers and healthcare providers that will change how we understand our health.”

Aside from Quanttus, which is in development, there appears to be at least one other device that provides data from a medical persective and can be used in clinical applications. Developed in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic, that FDA-cleared device is called BodyGuardian and is a wearable sensor that can monitor ECG, heart rate (including HR variability and HR reliability), respiration rate, activity level and body position.

Providers can use the BodyGuardian device and the data it collects to monitor heart rhythms for arrhythmia patients. among other things. 

-- By Arundhati Parmar, Senior Editor, MD+DI


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