You’ve Gotta Have Heart (rate)

by on October 8, 2013

When I completed grad school there was only one thing I wanted to do – combine my work in mechatronics with my love affair for startups. Unfortunately, at that time it was easier to find a startup in the Silicon Valley trying to figure out how to throw virtual sheep at your friends than one working on physical products.

Fast forward six years and it is incredible how things have changed. I haven’t seen a virtual sheep throwing startup in at least 6 months, yet startups building connected devices are sprouting up everywhere. I won’t get in to what is driving this revolution, but you can find some great insights here, here and here. At iNovia, we are a bit unique in that three of us are engineers who love to dive into hardware. Seeing the rise of these startups has been exciting and we invested in to our first connected device company in BufferBox last year.

Basis_Band_Front_72Today we are announcing our investment in Basis. Basis is a wearable tech company that I first met about a year and a half ago. While it was intriguing, the technology was still early and no devices were manufactured yet. Fast forward a year and the company had made huge strides. The first devices were being shipped to great reviews, a solid management team had been formed and the market was taking off. We were fortunate to be invited by our friends at the Mayfield Fund to take another look after they led an impressive investment.

Our belief is that the common activity trackers on the market today will eventually be commoditized or devalued over time. It is fairly trivial to include accelerometers in a wearable product and the algorithms to calculate metrics like steps taken can be licensed. Basis differentiates itself by going much deeper;  measuring heart rate, body temperature, perspiration and sleep. Many more Insights will be released in the future to provide an even deeper level of understanding of one’s health.

Beyond the data collection to satisfy the Quantified Selfers, the Basis Habit System helps one make small changes to daily routines that add up to big gains in overall health in the long run. This is where the real value proposition is found for Basis wearers.

I have been wearing a Basis religiously for over 6 months now and I constantly find myself making small decisions like parking farther away at the airport or walking the kids to the bus to increase my step count. I love the ‘Don’t be a Sitter’ habit that reminds me not be sitting for long periods of time. I now have a way to know how often I get my heart rate up to over 80% of my maximum. I also see the change in calorie burn between a mile of walking versus a mile of running.

Congrats to Jef and team as they pursue their mission of building a great company through improving the health and wellness of the masses.