Samsung leads LVL Technologies' $6.5M round to build a hydration-tracking wearable

By Jonah Comstock
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Austin, Texas-based LVL Technologies (formerly known as BSX Athletics) has raised $6.75 million in a self-described Series A round led by the Samsung Catalyst Fund. Maxim Integrated Products also contributed along with other industry investors. This is actually the company's second Series A round; according to a now-deleted blog post on the company's website, it already raised a $2.5 million Series A back in 2013 from six undisclosed private investors. That would bring its total funding to $9 million.

LVL Technologies is focused on building health and fitness wearables that track an additional metric that most market incumbents don't: hydration. The sensor uses infrared light to measure the water content in a user's blood stream, then the device prompts the user in real time to hydrate.

“Water is such a critical part of who we all are,” Dr. Dustin Freckleton, founder and CEO of LVL Technologies, said in a statement. “Our bodies are made up mostly of water and yet our internal thirst drive does a surprisingly poor job of helping us stay properly hydrated. This is manifested in numerous ways, from headaches, to joint pain, impaired exercise performance, lowered mental clarity and so much more. All of these can be improved by better hydration habits.”

In addition to hydration, LVL's wearable (called LVL One) tracks activity, heart rate, sleep, and self-reported mood. According to the company's website, the device is set to ship in summer 2018. 

LVL Technologies has evolved significantly since it launched its first app, runBSX, in 2013. The company originally focused on personalized running coaching. In 2014, it launched BSX Insight, a wearable for athletes that tracks lactic acid buildup, a helpful metric for athletes who want to learn how hard they are working out, compared to how hard they could be working out. The wearable raised $121,000 on Kickstarter. The company says it is still in use by many endurance athletes, including US Olympic competitors.

With LVL One, the company is looking to push out beyond athletes to create a general interest consumer wearable. That's a hard market to break into right now, but the vote of confidence from a major tech player like Samsung is a promising start.

"At Samsung, we’ve long believed that wearables will help usher in the next wave of innovation in digital health,” Shankar Chandran, managing director and head of the Samsung Catalyst Fund, said in a statement. “By measuring important data on hydration - which has eluded the industry for years - LVL Technologies has demonstrated the vast potential of wearables technology, and the impact it can have on consumers’ lives. As a leader in the wearables space, we at Samsung are thrilled to partner with a company that will help us push the boundaries of this technology even further.”