Fitbit adds four new clients and more digital health deals

By Heather Mack
Share

Fitbit has added four new corporate customers to its portfolio: New insurer York Life, mail and message management company Pitney Bowes, software company SAP and Sharp Healthcare, a nonprofit regional healthcare system in San Diego. The company, which has seen success getting into many corporate wellness programs, cites data from ABI Research that suggests programs that incorporate wellness devices increase participation to 60 percent or higher, up from an average of 20 percent for programs that do not use wearables.

 “Employers continue to look to consumer-oriented technology and services to develop wellness programs that can empower people to take charge of their health and fitness,” Fitbit Group Health’s VP and General Manager Amy McDonough said in a statement. “Fitbit’s corporate wellness offering is built around the understanding that better, people-oriented technology enables stronger results using wearable devices that consumers love.” More

In another example of a deal struck with a wearable company, Garmin has partnered with telecom company MTN to launch a line of fitness watches in Ghana. The partnership will offer Ghanians the vivoFit3, vivoMove, vivoActive, Fenix3 and vivoSmart activity trackers through select MTN Ghana distribution outlets. Additionally, people will also be able to purchase a Garmin watch and receive a free three-month 900MB data bundle through MTN. Garmin, which has an official office in South Africa and a presence in 25 more African countries, is looking for more ways to establish itself in the continent’s expanding fitness market.

“We’ve had a strong presence with our GPS tools products…but less emphasis on our health and wellness lines, so we started to look around for new countries and distribution models,” Walter Mech, Garmin MD for Sub-Saharan Africa told TechCrunch. “There are limited options for formal retail channels…besides the large telcos.”

San Diego-based GreatCall, an aging-in-place tech company that makes both phones for seniors and mPERS, has acquired Healthsense, a Minnesota-based remote monitoring company. The terms of the deal were undisclosed. This is the second major acquisition for GreatCall -- which started out only making smartphones for seniors -- that expands its participation in the aging tech space. GreatCall bought remote monitoring company Lively around this time last year. Years before that, it acquired a smaller company called MobiWatch.

“As GreatCall continues to expand in these key markets, Healthsense is a natural fit – with our missions of increasing independence, reducing total cost of care and improving the resident, family and caregiver experience,” David Inns, CEO of GreatCall, said in a statement. “Acquiring Healthsense brings important capabilities in predictive analytics that dovetail with our deep customer knowledge, expands our offering, as well as increases our exposure in senior living and healthcare.” More

Ascension’s Saint Thomas Health has opened a new virtual clinic that provides 24/7 access to healthcare. Saint Thomas on Demand, which allows patients anywhere in Tennessee to receive virtual care via smartphone, tablet or computer, is built on Carena’s Virtual Clinic Platform that includes software, staffing and operations services. It is fully integrated into Saint Thomas Health’s clinic-based care delivery system, and costs patients a flat fee of $49. More

London-based brain training app maker Peak has been acquired by Hachette Livre, a Vanves, France-based subsidiary of book publisher Lagardére SCA. Hachette Livre purchased a majority stake in the company, which is officially named Brainbow. The price was not disclosed.

“The company is committed to expanding beyond books, and given its heritage in education and literature, it’s eager to support and develop intelligent digital entertainment,” the Peak team wrote in a blog post. “For us, this partnership allows us to stay true to our vision for Peak: a smart self-improvement app that continually challenges and motivates our users. Operationally, Peak will remain independent, run by the original team of founders, and we’ll continue to work out of London.” More

Tokyo, Japan-based electronics company TDK Corp. has acquired sensor company InvenSense for $13 a share, making the total acquisition price $1.3 billion. The transaction will bring together a more complete sensor and software solution portfolio for TDK, spanning sensors, inertial, pressure, microphone and ultrasonic wave products. The acquisition is aimed at driving TDK’s strategic growth plan to become a strong global player in IoT, information and communication technology, manufacturing devices and automotive industries.