Health IT, Startups

Remote monitoring startup for smoking cessation raises $6M to add caregiving support

Somatix analyzes body motion data from wearables to ascertain a user’s physical and emotional state. The smoking cessation program detects whether people are smoking based on hand motions. But the company wants to add new applications

 

Somatix, an Israeli digital health company using wearables to track unhealthy behaviors and send timely alerts to change the user’s behavior, has raised $6 million in a Series A round. The fundraise is intended to add new products to a pipeline that started with smoking cessation program SmokeBeat.

Eran Ofir, Somatix founder and CEO, said in a phone interview that Digitalis Ventures led the Series A round for the business, which opened U.S. offices in New York and has taken part in accelerators run by Dreamit Health and New York Digital Health Accelerator.

The funding will be used to increase market traction for SmokeBeat, which is aimed at employer wellness programs and insurers. The new capital will also go towards research and development work for two more products — a caregiving support tool using body motion data and a machine learning algorithm to track the activities of daily living and another for the early detection of neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease. Ofir noted that although the program is intended to be wearable agnostic, the company plans to produce a smart wristband as part of its service.

Equipped with an accelerometer and gyroscope, Somatix’s wearable is intended to produce data that gives users feedback on behavior, such as detecting when someone raises a cigarette to their lips, to share with a physician. It is also intended to be used to improve users’ understanding of their behavior patterns and derive insights from them. Somatix claims to use machine learning to spot patterns in the motion data. Although smoking cessation is clearly a behavior change issue, the company’s ambitions for its other products are much different. Ofir noted that it is working with academic institutions to validate the two products in development.

Remote monitoring for seniors seems like a crowded market already but minimizing the creep effect and creating a process that’s automated and accurate would be helpful. Early detection of neurological diseases seems like a great market opportunity but a lot of unanswered questions remain such as who would pay for it and when would it be used?

Photo: Jirsak, Getty Images