Eight Sleep raises $86M to build out its smart mattress technology

Steven Loeb · August 30, 2021 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/52f9

The company uses sensors inside its mattresses to monitor vitals such as respiratory and heart rate

Wearables have changed the way people think about their health: by putting more data into the hands of the consumer, they allow people to have greater insights, and more control, over their own care. But these devices can be cumbersome, and sometimes intrusive; I sometimes forget my FitBit at home if I take it off to charge it, and sometimes I'd rather just not have something on wrist all day long.

That problem has led to a new class of wearables, ones that fit into a user's everyday life, tracking their vitals without the individual ever needing to change their behavior. That can mean sensors in anything from the clothes they wear on a daily basis, to even sensors inside their toilet seat

Eight Sleep is a company that came with the idea of putting sensors inside of a mattress in order to monitor vitals while people sleep.

"Sleep is an overlooked pillar of health. At Eight Sleep, we believe that it is time to change the conversation around sleep entirely. Sleep needs to be viewed as an activity with enormous power to improve the quality of the human experience. It should be prioritized, measured and worked on in the same ways that nutrition and exercise are improved," Matteo Franceschetti, the company's co-founder and CEO, told VatorNews.

Research and science have long suggested that your overall health and wellness rests on three pillars, he said: nutrition, exercise and sleep. However, while the importance of nutrition and exercise have become "so omnipresent in our everyday thinking that we feel pressure to maintain health in both areas," sleep isn't yet thought of in the same way.  

"Sleep is treated differently even though, as a society, we’ve come to expect more from our waking hours -- hustle, gain, achieve greater things. We’re only reminded we need sleep when we feel the sting under our eyes and/or mental fatigue setting in. In fact, people are sleeping less now than any time in the last century with Americans averaging just 6.8 hours of sleep per night according to research from Gallup."

Eight Sleep's solution to this has earned them a lot of attention from venture capitalists: on Monday, the company announced a new $86 million Series C funding led by Valor Equity Partners, with participation from SoftBank, Khosla Ventures, Founders Fund, and General Catalyst.

This is the company's third investment just this year, following an undisclosed amount in June from investors that included Alex RodriguezKevin HartKyle Vogt, Naval Ravikant, Anthony PomplianoKris Bryant, JD Martinez, and Sophia Amoruso, as well as an investment from Softbank in April. It has now raised over $150 million in total funding for a valuation of nearly $500 million.

Founded in 2014, Eight Sleep sells two products: a $2,945 smart mattress, and a $1,720 cover that includes its technology, and which can be placed over an existing mattress. The technology can monitor vitals such as respiratory rate, resting heart rate, and HRV during sleep and then display that information in the Eight Sleep App called SleepOS, which will then notify users when there are changes in the usual patterns of these biometrics.

In addition to its vital sign tracking, the solution also includes mattress cooling and heating, so that each person can control the temperature control on their side of the bed, as well as tracking of sleep stages and sleep time. It also comes with a vibration and temperature alarm, which will wake up each individual with vibration and gradual temperature change.

Eight Sleep's mattress and cover includes multiple sensors like piezo films, ballistocardiographs, and temperature sensors for both the bed and the environment. Putting sensors into a mattress was a a good way to monitor vital signs because "it’s best to measure in the most seamless way possible," Franceschetti said.

"At only 0.01 inches thick, this technology is sensitive enough to detect heartbeats and breathing patterns, yet thin enough to remain imperceptible while you sleep. This data helps the Pod track your sleep to continuously adjust temperature to your personal needs," he explained. 

There are now ver 50,000 people are currently using the Eight Sleep app, and data has shown that Eight Sleep products help customers to fall asleep up to 40% faster, get up to 20% more deep sleep, experience 30% fewer mid-night wake ups, and up to 30% fewer tosses and turns.

The next step for Eight Sleep is to go beyond just measuring vital signs, though, to actually using its data to determine if someone is getting sick, or if they are developing conditions, such as the flu. The company's technology looks at the data from sensors that track multiple biomarkers which can identify an illness that may be developing in the person's body.

"As it has been seen before by users of Eight Sleep, and also of wearables available in the market, by looking at trends of biomarkers, like resting heart rate, respiratory rate and HRV, you can identify when a COVID illness started, or when the flu kicked in, or even migraines," said Franceschetti.

The company plans to use the new funds to accelerate its innovation and technology roadmap, which will involve developing new hardware and implementing additional software features that will further enhance Eight Sleep users’ digital experiences. It will also be used to expand Eight Sleep geographically, including the United Kingdom and Europe, and to triple the size of the team, which currently stands at 50 employees.

"Our ultimate goal is to make the world sleep fit through optimal sleep. We want to turn the everyday bed into a platform for health, performance, and longevity," said Franceschetti. 

(Image source: eightsleep.com)

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