Sweat-sensing wearable startup Kenzen raises $5m from investors

Sweat-sensing wearable startup Kenzen raises $5m from investors

echo kenzen wearable
The Echo Smart Patch from Kenzen

Kenzen is developing a health monitoring wearable and has already received attention and strategic investment from a number of interested parties. 

San Francisco-based health-tech start-up Kenzen has successfully raised $5m in funding from backers including Digitalis Ventures, Flex, Hickory Ventures and the Women’s Capital Connection. It has also received investment from the San Francisco 49ers football team, which has been actively testing the technology during the prototype phase.

Kenzen’s smart wearable, the ECHO Smart Patch, is worn on the torso. There it measures motion and captures several strands of biometric data, including core temperature and fluid loss. The ECHO Smart Patch is supposedly more accurate than wrist-worn wearables in judging movement, and can measure a number of biomarkers from a single bead of sweat.

According to co-founder and CEO Dr. Sonia Sousa: “Kenzen brings connected, clinical relevance to wearables by measuring and delivering predictive analytics that are critical to wellness and can improve physical performance. We are marrying connected wearables with fluidics analysis to deliver real-time precision medicine to healthcare communities.”

Earlier this year the company won an award at Google’s Demo Day in London. After presentations from executives of 10 specially-selected start-ups, Kenzen was chosen for its breakthrough technology and vision to optimize personal health through sweat analysis.

Read more: New mHealth sensor developed to monitor blood-flow with wearables

A non-invasive wearable for sports and more

The ECHO Smart Patch is fitted with biochemical sensors that adhere to and flex with the body. These detect numerous biomarkers from tiny amounts of sweat, giving users access to vital signs. The data can be monitored and analysed to predict and prevent injuries and illness.

Kenzen’s wearable uses Bluetooth LE and can run for weeks at a time. The data collected can be synced with an iOS or Android smartphone.

Read more: Catapult Sports on wearables in sport, improving player safety and the future of tactical decision-making

kenzen smart patch app
Kenzen’s connected app allows trainers to track their athlete’s potassium and sodium levels in real-time.

Paraag Marathe, chief strategy officer at the San Francisco 49ers, which has been trialing Kenzen’s ECHO Smart Patch, sees the product as a breakthrough for professional athletes.

“Kenzen has tremendous technology that can help sports teams, and impact fitness and health overall,” he said. “As both an investor and customer, we are big fans of Kenzen and appreciate the team’s down-to-earth, honest and very intellectual approach to things. They’ve been a great partner in building a breakthrough product for athletes.”

Beyond professional sports

Kenzen has built its wearable from one fundamental truth: Everyone sweats. The company’s ECHO patch requires only a tiny micro-bead to perform an analysis of key biomarkers. Sweat typically consists of electrolytes like sodium, metabolites, glucose and proteins.

These can all be quickly assessed through a non-invasive analysis, allowing everyday users and professional sport stars to better understand health in any situation.

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