Eargo pulls in first tranche of series C round worth up to $45M

Because the Eargo hearing aid is suspended in the ear canal without blocking it, it allows bass sounds to pass through and amplifies only treble sounds. (Eargo)

Eargo, the maker of a “virtually invisible” hearing aid, closed the first tranche of a series C round slated to raise a total of $45 million. It will use the new funding to ramp up innovation, marketing and branding initiatives.

Eargo markets a relatively inexpensive, in-ear device for mild to moderate hearing loss. The Mountain View, California-based company offers a pair of its updated Eargo Plus hearing aids and accompanying accessories for $1,999, or through a two-year payment plan with a monthly payment of $92. This price, $19 more than its original Eargo, is less than half the average cost of a pair of hearing aids in the U.S., the company claimed (PDF).

The Eargo hearing aid is based on the company’s Flexi Fibers technology, a soft material that suspends the device in the ear without blocking the ear canal. While hearing aids typically amplify sound using a small speaker, the Eargo device allows bass sounds to travel into the ear, so only treble sounds need be amplified.

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Nan Fung Life Sciences led the investment, while Charles and Helen Schwab, Maveron and New Enterprise Associates—which signed on to lead the company’s $25 million series B round in 2015—also participated.

"We're impressed by the traction and progress that Eargo has achieved thus far, and are excited to be a part of building this revolutionary company," said Josh Makower, M.D., general partner and head of medtech investing at NEA, in a statement. "By employing innovative technology, a customer-first mindset and a fresh approach to marketing, Eargo is transforming the consumer health tech industry."

Earlens is another player seeking to transform hearing aids—the Menlo Park, California-based company recently raised $73 million in series C financing to support the commercialization of its laser-based hearing aid. The device converts sound into focused light to eliminate whistling and help people understand conversation in noisy settings.