Sat, Jun 04, 2016 - Page 13 News List

Foreign tech start-ups look for partners

COOPERATION:Intelligent sleep mask developer Inteliclinic is just one of several foreign firms looking for Taiwanese manufacturers and investors at the Computex

By Lauly Li  /  Staff reporter

Foreign technology start-ups like Inteliclinic Inc and Embr Labs Inc are taking part in the Computex Taipei this year, looking for manufacturing partners and investors in Taiwan.

San Francisco-based Inteliclinic, with its wearable mask capable of analyzing and improving sleep quality, is seeking Taiwanese contract electronics and textile manufacturers as part of the firm’s plans to expand its reach to East Asian markets.

“We would like here [Taiwan] to be our window to Asia, given that Japan is one of our largest markets,” Inteliclinic cofounder and general manager Tomasz Kolodziejak told the Taipei Times at the company’s booth at the annual trade show.

Since raising US$500,000 from crowdfunding platform Kickstarter in 2014, Inteliclinic has grown into a small company with 20 employees over the past two years.

Its smart intelligent sleep mask, called Neuroon, measures the body’s brain waves, pulse, temperature and physical motion. The data is then analyzed using an application developed by the company to recommend the best Neuroon features and therapies to help one sleep better, according to information posted on the company’s Web site.

Users can also access their sleep data, such as the length of time it takes them to fall asleep or their rapid eye movement sleep, business development manager Ryan Goh said.

Working in cooperation with a Polish manufacturer, Inteliclinic has sold nearly 7,000 units, mainly in the US and Japan, via its Web site and over the past two years, Goh said.

Inteliclinic plans to extend its business to South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan via a manufacturing hub here, Goh said.

The start-up has talked to three to four potential manufacturing partners, including large Taiwanese textile suppliers, and has inked a letter of intent with six international airlines, including Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Virgin Atlantic and All Nippon Airways (ANA), he added.

Starting next month, Inteliclinic will begin supplying Neuroon masks for Lufthansa’s Frankfurt-San Francisco flights, Goh said.

Inteliclinic’s client base mainly consists of retail consumers and airlines, but the company will start supplying a boutique hotel in downtown San Francisco in fall this year, it said.

To support its expansion, Inteliclinic is planning to hold its first round of venture capital fundraising, hoping to attract institutional investors and raise US$4 million this summer, Goh said.

Embr Labs, founded by a research team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said it attended Computex to look for manufacturing and supply chain partners, as well as “a little bit” of investment.

Incorporated in Massachusetts in 2014, the company is developing active wearable technology to reduce thermal stress caused by uncomfortable environments.

“We have a patent-pending technology for wearables to heat and cool people directly, helping them feel more comfortable,” Embr Labs cofounder Samuel Shames said at the company’s booth.

The technology is still in the prototype stage and the company has not decided on what kind of wearable device it will be, he said.

It hopes to make a major announcement later this year and provide more product details, he said.

Shames said the company has talked to several Taiwanese companies over the past few days.

They could be manufacturing partners or even potential investors, he said, without elaborating.

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