Connected health pioneer Withings raised a $60 million Series B round of funding to help it continue to develop non-invasive health devices that facilitate more personalized patient and physician engagement.
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The round was co-led by Gilde Healthcare, Idinvest Partners and Bpifrance, with participation from BNP Paribas Développement, ODDO BHF Private Equity and Adelie Capital. The new investment brings France-based Withings to a total of $93.8 million since it was founded in 2008, Mathieu Letombe, CEO of Withings, told Crunchbase News.
Edwin de Graaf, managing partner at Gilde Healthcare, said in a written statement that Withings was “an attractive investment” due to its “unique position to thrive” in an environment where telemedicine is increasingly becoming how doctors are seeing patients, and where patient data needs to be collected and analyzed accurately and reliably.
A fresh start
Withings was acquired by Nokia for 170 million euros in 2016. In today’s dollars that would be $200 million. However, two years later, Nokia agreed to sell the digital health devices and services back to the company’s co-founder and former chairman, Eric Carreel, who relaunched Withings later that year, TechCrunch reported.
This is the company’s first fundraise since breaking away from Nokia, Letombe said. During that time, Withings was finalizing its work to prove it could be a medical company and there was room for its devices to be used by the industry and by professionals.
“Now we want to move further and faster with the new resources. We’ve been focused on stabilizing the company and developing two products, MED PRO and our scale, as well as opening up our B2B business,” Letombe added. “We have built the foundation, and then started looking to raise money.”
The company will invest funds to grow its research and development, sales and marketing teams in the U.S., where Withings has an office in Boston. It also plans to grow its business-to-business unit. Letombe said Withings plans to keep its R&D functions in France and add 100 people in both the U.S. and France offices by the end of the year. The company already has a workforce of 250 people.
‘Sensors and biomarkers for tomorrow’
When Withings was created in 2008, the company began its focus on chronic diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, heart health, sleep and weight management. It launched the world’s first connected scale that measures arterial stiffness in 2009, to help end users manage their weight and maintain control of their health on a daily basis.
Today, in addition to the scale, Withings has several connected, non-invasive health devices: an analog watch that detects cardiac arrhythmias, a blood pressure monitor that detects valvular heart diseases and an under-mattress sleep tracker that detects sleep apnea.
Withings launched its B2B unit, MED PRO last year to so medical professionals, institutions, payers, disease management programs, coaching platforms, and researchers could leverage Withings devices and data analytics. That division represented 10 percent of the company’s revenue in 2019, and this year, will be 20 percent, with a goal of being half of Withings’ revenue in the future, Letombe said.
“We believe we are strong in the health care industry, especially as we think about the end patient,” he added. “We aim to grow our R&D team because our mission is to build new sensors and biomarkers for tomorrow. We understand the need and are looking at new diseases to track and prevent.”
Next steps for Withings
Meanwhile, Letombe said Withings is on its way to becoming the leading provider of home generated health data.
In addition, it is currently involved in a research initiative with the Department of Cardiology at the university hospital of the Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich, which is integrating the soon-to-be-launched Withings ScanWatch into a COVID-19 patient monitoring project. ScanWatch is capable of tracking the blood oxygen saturation and the heart rhythm by wrist measurements.
“The health care industry, in terms of digitalization, is untapped on the B2B side related to the business-to-consumer side,” he added. “We believe there is room in the industry and want to be the No. 1 brand in providing data.”
Product photo courtesy of Withings
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias