Basis, maker of the popular wristwatch health tracker, was reportedly acquired by Intel for $100-$150 million. That’s after the company was rumored to be shopping itself around the likes of Google and Apple last month, but they were said to be offering “sub-hundred million” deals, so Basis packed up its toys and went to play elsewhere.
The report came out late Monday night and Basis has not yet confirmed it. The company could not be reached for comment.
Basis makes some of the most accurate health and fitness tracker bands on the market, and its bands are consistently ranked as the top trackers in reviews. Tech blogger Robert Scoble and VC-turned-fitness entrepreneur Raj Kapoor have both been spotted at Vator Splash events wearing Basis wristwatches.
Basis made its big debut back in November 2012 with a wearable monitor with several sensors to track the wearer’s activity level and vital signs. The device goes beyond your basic pedometer and measures heart rate, skin temperature and sweat, calories burned, sleep patterns, and more.
But despite the evangelists singing Basis’ praises, the company has had a tough time gaining market share. A report released by Canalys last month broke down the market for fitness trackers and revealed that Fitbit dominates with 54% of the market, followed by Jawbone UP, with 21% of the market. Basis is in the “Other” category, which accounts for just 8% of the market.
So what does Intel want with Basis? That’s the big mystery, but Intel was all about wearables at this year’s CES, where it showed off a smartwatch prototype that doesn’t need to be tethered to a smartphone and comes with geofencing and heart rate monitor capabilities. The company also debuted an SD card form factor computer called Edison, which is capable of turning items with an SD card slot into a smart device—for example, a baby onesie that monitors breathing and heart rate and transmits that data back to a “smart mug” (for some reason) that parents and caregivers can watch.
Basis will likely find a nice, cozy patent partner in Intel to expand its offerings and design even more accurate sensors. As Tim Chang, Mayfield Fund partner and a member of Basis’ board, told me last year, “Basis eventually may not even be in the HW business, but has the disruptive sensor set and science to help evolve the wearables market beyond just accelerometers."
Canalys has predicted that wearables will explode in 2014 and will ship 17 million units altogether this year, some nine million of which will be health and fitness trackers. By 2017, Canalys estimates that over 45 million smart bands (those capable of running apps) will be shipped—a number that doesn’t include health trackers because Canalys doesn’t think they’ll be around in a few years as smartwatches add more health tracking features.
Looks like Basis may be staying ahead of the curve.
Basis has raised $32.3 million from Norwest Venture Partners, DCM, Mayfield Fund, Intel Capital, and more.