Sensifree raises $5M for contactless heart rate sensors for wearables, smartwatches, smart clothing

By Brian Dolan
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Cupertino, California-based Sensifree, which develops contact-free, electromagnetic sensors for continuously sensing heart rate and other biometrics, has raised $5 million in its first round of funding led by TransLink Capital. Other backers included UMC Capital, which is a subsidiary of United Microelectronics, and an undisclosed strategic investor. TransLink was one of the first firms to invest in wearable company Misfit, which was acquired by Fossil last November, and it has also backed Noom. Sensifree has raised a total of $7 million to date.

Sensifree's prior funding included a seed investment from Samsung's Catalyst fund. Sensifree is also a Samsung partner and its technology helps power some of the sensors in the company's Simband wearable device. While the company's heart rate sensor is already in the market, it's also working to develop a cuffless blood pressure sensor.

“Sensifree’s disruptive sensor technology marks the future of biometric sensing. We developed this technology specifically with wearables and smart clothing applications in mind, concentrating on enhancing overall user experience. We recognized the desire of both fashion brands and consumers to embrace advanced features while maintaining traditional brand values. Our low-power, contact-free technology helps achieve this. In parallel, we are leveraging our core technology to develop the 'holy grail' of sensors -- a cuff-free blood pressure sensor and we expect to demonstrate preliminary results this year,” Eran Agmon, co-founder and CEO of Sensifree said in a statement.

  
The company says its differentiator is that its sensors are RF-based not optical and so are contact-free. That also enables them to need less power, which makes it easier to perform continuous heart rate monitoring, according to the company. The technology also works well through fabrics and when underwater, the company claims. Another area that has plagued wearables and that Sensifree it has overcome: Its sensors aren't impacted by ambient light, skin pigmentation, tattoos, hair, sweat or dirt.

As part of the deal, TransLink Capital Venture Partner and Senior Advisor, Eric Hsia, will join Sensifree's board.