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It's "the year of the wearable" and Jawbone may be looking to claim a bigger piece of the pie
With 2014 forecasted to be “the year of the wearable,” it comes as no surprise that Jawbone—maker of the Jawbone UP health tracker (as well as the Jambox, Bluetooth wireless headsets, and noise-canceling headphones)—has reportedly raised $250 million at a valuation of $3.3 billion, according to Recode’s Kara Swisher. The round is said to have been oversubscribed and may rise to $300 million. Because why not add a few more millions?
The round was reportedly led by Rizvi Traverse Management, which has also invested in Twitter, Facebook, Square, Flipboard, Playboy, and Summit Entertainment, among others.
Jawbone has declined to comment.
Prior to the round, Jawbone had raised a total of $279 million since 2006, including a $113 million equity and debt round last September. Existing investors include Khosla Ventures, Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Kleiner Perkins, J.P. Morgan, and Deutsche Telecom, among others.
Jawbone was valued at $1.5 billion in 2011.
Last month, the company unveiled its latest headset, the Era, which is 42% smaller than Jawbone’s prior headset model and comes with a charging case that gives users more than 10 hours of total talking time.
Last November, Jawbone finally took its health tracker, the Jawbone UP, wireless with the new UP24. Previously, the one fatal flaw in the Jawbone UP wristband was that it had to be plugged in to sync with your devices. Meanwhile, health trackers by Fitbit and Nike offered wireless syncing.
Nevertheless, The Jawbone UP remains the second most popular health tracker on the market, accounting for 21% of all health trackers sold today. Fitbit dominates the health tracker category with 58% of the market.
In November, Jawbone claimed that users had logged more than 500 billion steps and more than 35 million nights of sleep to date. Whatever that means.
Canalys estimates that 17 million wearables, including smart bands (smartwatches) and basic bands (health trackers), will be shipped in 2013. But the research firm also predicts that the two categories will slowly merge over time.
“Basic band vendors have greater wearable expertise and have shipped greater numbers to date, but smart bands are already growing faster. Increasingly, smart bands will adopt basic band features as the two categories converge,” said Canalys VP and Principal Analyst Chris Jones, in a statement.
Meanwhile, Apple is reportedly working on a smartwatch of its own, affectionately dubbed iWatch, which is said to have more of a health focus than other standard smartwatches. The New York Times reported earlier this month that Apple recently met with the FDA to discuss “mobile medical applications.” 9to5 Mac has reported that Apple is going to bring a unique health focus to iOS 8 with “Healthbook,” which come with the usual monitors: calories burned, steps taken, miles walked, etc. Big deal. But here’s where Apple is going beyond just trying to build its own Fitbit or Basis: Healthbook will also be able to monitor the user’s vital signs, including heart rate, blood pressure, hydration, and possibly even blood data points like glucose levels.
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