Owlet grabs $15M to advance infant breathing monitor and app

Owlet Baby Monitor comprising Base Station and Smart Sock--Courtesy of Owlet Baby Care

Owlet Baby Care just boosted its total capital raised to $25 million, thanks to a new $15 million in venture financing and an NIH grant. The new infusion will drive the international distribution efforts of its baby monitor that alerts parents via smartphone app if their baby stops breathing.

The Owlet baby monitor comprises a sensor-embedded smart sock, a base station and a smartphone app. The smart sock monitors the infant’s heart rate and oxygen levels using pulse oximetry and communicates this data to the base station via bluetooth. If the child’s heart rate is too low or too high, or if his or her oxygen level falls below a preset threshold, the base station and smartphone app will sound an alert. In 2017, the company expects to launch a feature allowing users more access to these data as well as the ability to share it with pediatricians, according to a statement.

"This new round of funding provides Owlet with the backing to expand our reach into retail and international distribution, launch two new product lines and kickoff the largest infant health study ever conducted," said Owlet CEO Kurt Workman, in the statement.

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Previous backers Eclipse and Eniac participated in the round, with contribution from new investors Trilogy Equity Partners, the Amazon's Alexa Fund and Broadway Angels, among others. As part of the funding, Owlet will become the commercialization partner on a $1.5 million NIH grant for the advancement of infant health research.

While the company touts the pulse oximetry tech in the system is hospital-grade, it is careful to note that the Owlet baby monitor is not a medical device. While the monitor may help to avoid sudden, unexpected infant deaths, the company warns that it should not be used as a primary monitoring system for infants with irregular heart rate or irregular oxygen levels.