Amsterdam-based NOWATCH, a healthtech company that claims to pioneer the breakthrough awareable category – a term coined by its founders, announced on Wednesday that it has raised $8.7M (approximately €8.33M) in a Series A round of funding.
Chris Hall, besides his investment, will also join NOWATCH as chairman of the board. He is an entrepreneur who has successfully set up and scaled multiple SaaS companies, including Bynder, which he has grown dramatically in just a few years.
Hall says, “In the same way that cloud technology revolutionised the software industry, I’m confident that “awareables” and predictive technology will reinvent the way we look at health, wellness and mindfulness. In partnering with Philips, NOWATCH’s unique ability to help users understand and navigate their cortisol levels is set to redefine what we look for when shopping for smart devices – taking the guesswork out of our health.”
“NOWATCH – The world’s first awareable”
Founded in 2020 by Hylke Muntinga and Timothee Manschot, NOWATCH is a healthtech company with a mission to provide the tools to navigate the world of tech.
The company claims that its flagship product, the NOWATCH, is the first wearable device in the world to measure and predict stress by inferring cortisol levels through EDA sensors, developed in partnership with Philips.
The NOWATCH is a screenless watch with a customisable gemstone face that measures a variety of health metrics such as temperature, heart rate, movement, and sleep. It is also a predictive technology, learning about its wearer and alerting them to potential stress triggers and problems 60 minutes before they occur. The goal is to restore balance for whole mental and physical well-being.
“Sweat gland activity is directly correlated to stress”
Sweat gland activity is linked to stress because they are the sole organs connected to the sympathetic nervous system, which triggers the fight-or-flight reaction in response to a variety of stresses. This is the first time cortisol contribution has been measured by skin conductance in this fashion.
Skin conductance’s high dynamic range gives considerably more precise information regarding present stress levels, as well as awareness and understanding in a user’s cognitive zone, which a heart rate-based test could never deliver. When exposed to identical stresses, it detects the same reaction to cortisol contribution, allowing for more accurate and reliable assessments and forecasts into the user’s cognitive zone up to 60 minutes in advance.
The prediction will give the user time to change his or her behaviour, for example, by taking a walk, taking a break, or doing some breathing exercises to better cope with the situation.
NOWATCH says that the proceeds will help the company to expand its marketing reach, scale research and development efforts, and grow its internal team.
Co-founder Hylke Muntinga says, “Our Series A funding will help us increase the reach of NOWATCH, in turn helping more people achieve their wellness goals. Necessity is often the mother of invention and was the impetus behind the creation of this new category. Between learning in 2019 that I have a rare genetic condition that will cost me my eyesight and experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic the next year, my personal priorities have shifted from planning and stress to a more mindful and present now.”
“With the pandemic’s globally reaching impact, I know I am not alone in this desire to increase awareness of my physical and mental health all whilst being more present,” adds Muntinga.