Sensoria Fitness, the wearable sensor company formerly known as Heapsylon, has raised $5 million from Italian investor Reply SpA. In exchange, Reply SpA will acquire a hefty 20 percent interest in the company. Although Sensoria reported the raise in a press release, VentureBeat uncovered the amount.
Reply SpA will also work with Sensoria on marketing and distribution, including building up the Sensoria SDK. The funding will be used for engineering, sales and marketing efforts, according to the company.
"The internet of things is fueling the next wave of technology innovation," Reply SpA Chairman Mario Rizzante said in a statement. "We are extremely excited to closely partner with Sensoria who has built the first truly open, wearable development platform. We see tremendous potential synergies between their team and our system integration groups in Europe and in the United States. Together we can leverage the power of the Sensoria Developer Kit to reach out to business and technology leaders and deliver unique, meaningful and quantified experiences for our enterprise customers in an increasingly broader range of industries."
Sensoria is one of a handful of companies working on taking the next step from "jewelry-style" wearable sensors -- wristbands and pendants -- to sensors sewn directly into clothing. The company's first line of clothing includes a sports bra, a T-shirt and socks, which are sold in partnership with shoe company Vivobarefoot. Textile sensors embedded in the fabric connect to on-board electronics, allowing the clothing to relay heart rate, activity, running form, wellness and fitness levels to the Sensoria mobile app in near-realtime.
"Smart clothing helps professional athletes, as well as everyday fitness enthusiasts, to improve performance and monitor health and wellness in real time," Davide Vigano, co-founder and chief executive officer of Sensoria Inc, said in a statement. "Sensoria is becoming the 'internet of everyone' wearable platform provider. Thanks to our technology, comprised of textile and traditional sensors, electronics, cloud and mobile software, each garment becomes a biometric data-gathering device."
While this is Sensoria's first official round of funding, the company previously raised $115,882 on Indiegogo last fall, almost $30,000 over their goal. The company competes in the clothing-embedded sensor space with OMSignal, which raised $10 million earlier this month.
Another smart shirt company, Canadian Carre Technologies, made news this year when a group of explorers 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). And 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.