OMsignal raises $10M for health-sensing clothing line

By Aditi Pai
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OMsignal fitness shirtMontreal, Canada-based smart clothing maker OMsignal raised $10 million in a round led by Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP). Existing investors also participated in the round including Real Ventures, Mistral Venture Partners, Golden Venture Partners, David Cohen (managing partner at Techstars), Flextronics, and Primera Capital. This brings the company's total funding to at least $11 million.

OMsignal CEO and cofounder Stéphane Marceau told MobiHealthNews in an email that the company will use some of the funds to explore partnerships with fitness and sportswear apparel companies.

OMsignal manufactures clothing embedded with various health sensors. The shirt captures ECG, activity, breathing patterns and “emotive” states on a continuous basis. A small device that the user must clip on to the shirt sends data from the shirt's sensors to a companion smartphone app via Bluetooth. Users can then view all of their metrics from the smartphone app. The shirts come in long sleeve, short sleeve, and sleeveless options. While OMsignal shirts are still only available for pre-order, Marceau said they plan to begin shipments this summer.

"Smart clothing will become a pervasive and normal aspect of consumers' lives," Marceau said in a statement. "Following the recent launch of our Biometric Smartwear collection, we are continuing to receive orders from all over the world, developing new designs and working with top partners to bring our technology to an even wider consumer base."

Although the shirt senses ECG, in June of last year the company said the app doesn’t display ECG data because the company isn’t looking to make the shirt an FDA regulated medical device. At the time, company also said it planned to shrink down the size of the Bluetooth connector device and eventually integrate it into the fabric of the shirt.

In the future, the company plans to expand its clothing line to include women’s styles. It is also planning to license the technology and fabrics to gyms and manufacturers of cycling, running, and fitness apparel.

Another smart shirt company from Canada, Carre Technologies, made news this year when a group of six explorers, three men and three women, embarked on a 45-day expedition in Antarctica in early February to test the company's newest smart shirt, called Astroskin, for the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). While Carre Technologies' two shirts both measure heart rate, heart rate variability, breathing rate, respiration volume, calories burned, and steps taken per minute, Astroskin also measures skin temperature, has a more sophisticated EKG sensor than the Hexoskin shirt, and an optical sensor that tracks blood oxygenation and blood pressure.

In May, Tel Aviv, Israel-based HealthWatch announced that it is seeking 510(k) clearance for its 12-lead ECG tshirt, which sends data to a companion app. Currently, the garment itself is registered with the FDA as a Class I device, but the company is seeking clearance for the complete system.

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