Overall wearable funding due for 5-year low, though health wearables may fare better

By Jonah Comstock

Funding for wearables startups -- not just health-focused wearables -- is on track for a five-year low according to a new report from CB Insights.

WearableDealGlobalFinal4The firm says that startups focused on wearables are on track to hit $276 million for 2015, which would be 72 percent lower than 2014′s total and the lowest annual funding total since 2010. Last year's funding, it's worth noting, was unusually high due to a couple of standout investments, including $542 million in a single deal, for Magic Leap, a Florida-based augmented reality company.

In terms of deal count (rather than dollar value) CB Insights predicts 50 wearable deals will be done in 2015, down from 63 in 2014.

Part of the decline might have to do with wearable funding shifting toward smaller investments in earlier stage companies. CB Insights reports that seed and angel investments currently account for 55 percent of deals in the space, up from 29 percent back in 2011.

CB Insights didn't break out health wearables from the rest of the space, but there's reason to believe the health wearable space might be in better shape. For one thing, three of the top four most well-funded companies between 2010 and 2015 in CB Insights' report are health or wellness-focused: Jawbone, at $614 million raised, Misfit Wearables, at $63.9 million, and MC10, at $61.2 million.

In addition, in Rock Health's Q3 2015 report, it put wearable investment for the year-to-date at $430 million, much higher than CB's number. That's likely because they included Jawbone's $300 million debt round, which CB Insights chose to omit. Nonetheless, Rock's numbers put wearables as the second biggest investment category for 2015, after "Healthcare Consumer Engagement" with $489 million invested.

Rock Health tracked total digital health investment for the first three quarters of the year at $3.3 billion. Startup Health came up with a $4.7 billion total, and Health 2.0 had the figure at $3.4 billion.