Khosla goes all in on consumer health wearables and med tech, leading $13M for Thync

Vinod Khosla of Khosla Ventures

Vinod Khosla has shown almost boundless enthusiasm for wearables and med tech. The latest of his investments in this segment came with the recent disclosure of a $13 million investment led by Khosla Ventures in wearable neuromodulator mood company Thync.

Khosla Ventures already had consumer-oriented health device players in its portfolio, including activity tracker company Misfit Wearables; Adamant Technologies, which has a device that enables users to track health and fitness through an analysis of chemicals in their breath; Cellscope, which does at-home disease diagnostics via a smartphone optical assessment; wearable clinical monitoring company Quanttus; and Consumer Physics, which is creating a pocket spectrometer for smartphones intended for consumer apps.

The firm also has several slightly more traditional med tech investments such as smartphone plug-in cardiac monitor company AliveCor (a 2014 Fierce 15 pick) and real-time cancer diagnostics player Guardant Health.

In addition, Khosla also has a nonprofit investment group, Khosla Impact, which is enamored of med tech in its own right for its promise in improving the health of people in countries with emerging economies. Its portfolio includes Embrace Innovations, with an inexpensive infant warmer that works without electricity; and EyeNetra, a smartphone-based vision diagnostic.

Khosla is the founder of Sun Microsystems and is a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

The latest addition to Khosla's consumer health and med tech franchise, Thync, is reportedly still awaiting a decision from FDA on how its mood-altering consumer wearables should be classified for regulatory purposes. The company aims to be the first to make wearables that use neurosignaling algorithms to shift an individual's state of mind to a more relaxed and focused state.

"We share Thync's belief that unlocking the power of the mind will be a great advancement and a frontier that consumers should have access to," Samir Kaul, a partner at Khosla Ventures, said in a statement. "We back the talented team at Thync because we see a revolutionary convergence at the intersection of neuroscience and consumer sales of products and services."

Thync is based on the work of engineering and neuroscience researchers at Arizona State University, Stanford University, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"For the first time, we are able to target and optimize neural pathways and brain circuits for personal benefit," Dr. Jamie Tyler, co-founder of Thync, said in a statement. "Thync technology converges on many of these same pathways to achieve positive effects."

The $13 million financing figure includes all the capital raised since Thync's 2011 inception. The startup's products are expected starting next year.

- here is the release
- and here are stories from The Wall  Street Journal, VentureBeat and Xconomy

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