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

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.