Hello raises $20M for its Sense sleep tracking device

By Aditi Pai
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SenseSan Francisco-based startup Hello has raised $20 million in a round led by Singapore-based investment firm Temasek for its sleep tracking, bedside orb, Sense, according to the Financial Times. This brings the company's total funding to $30.5 million, though Hello expects its most recent round to eventually reach $40 million.

The company raised $10.5 million less than a year ago from former PayPal head David Marcus, Facebook executive Dan Rose, former Facebook designer Aaron Sittig, Spotify advisor Shakil Khan, and Hugo Barra, a Xiaomi executive.

Hello’s founder James Proud is a Thiel Fellow who dropped out of college in 2010 -- some of his startup’s investors have obvious ties to Peter Thiel, who co-founded PayPal and was an early investor in Facebook and many other tech companies. 

Sources told the Financial Times that Hello plans to use the new funding to take on larger fitness tracking device companies like Fitbit and Jawbone.

The Sense device is a small orb-shaped one that sits on a bedside table and tracks the noise, light, humidity, and temperature in the user’s bedroom. It turns green when it senses the room is at an appropriate temperature, light level and noise level. Sense pings a user’s app if it finds their room is not a proper atmosphere for sleeping yet. The system also includes a small clip, called Sleep Pill, that attaches to the user’s pillow. After a night of sleep, the Sense app shows user’s sleeping patterns detected by the Pill clip as well as environmental data tracked by the bedside device.

Hello also raised $2.4 million in a crowdfunding campaigning that ended in August 2014. The company started shipping Sense devices to backers in February and completed deliveries to its US backers last month. Sense became commercially available directly from the company's website three months ago.