4 Finnish healthtech startups to keep an eye on
Finland’s startup reputation may have been built on mobile games, but that is only one side of the story. Here is our pick of four innovative wellness startups with potential to become the next big Finnish success story — and be good for us.
1. Sweet dreams from Beddit
The first startup on our list focuses on a very basic need: a good night’s sleep.
Helsinki-based Beddit is behind the ‘Beddit Sleep Monitor’ which not only tracks sleep, but proactively gives advice on how to improve its quality. It works using an ultra-thin sensor which you slid under your bedsheet and it pairs with an accompanying mobile app to automatically provide data on heart rate, movement, breathing and even snoring. The full report awaits you in the morning.
Demand for the monitor was validated early as the company’s 2013 crowdfunding round flew past 500 000 dollars, received pre-orders from 106 countries and became one of the most successful Finnish crowdfunding projects to date. Beddit’s first sleep monitors arrived on the market a few months later, in January 2014.
Since then Beddit has raised a total of eight million dollars in funding, signed a major distribution deal in the US and been named as one the hottest startups in Helsinki by Wired UK. The second generation monitor ‘Beddit Smart’ was launched in May and as Beddit plans another major announcement for October, company employees won’t have much chance for napping anytime soon.
2. CosmEthics decodes toxic cosmetics
While quality of sleep is a concern for many so is the quality of ingredients found in our daily cosmetics. The trouble is sometimes it can feel like an Enigma machine is needed to decipher them.
Luckily CosmEthics is here to do the decoding. The mobile app, developed by a Finnish startup of the same name, scans the barcodes of cosmetic products and presents an analysis of their ingredients. Any potentially harmful ingredients are flashed with a red or orange label and the app offers suggestions for alternative, safer products.
Users can also personalise alerts for any preferences or allergies they have to specific ingredients.
Such usefulness has helped to put CosmEthics firmly on the radar for hot new startups. Barely a month after the app was launched at TechCrunch Disrupt event in London last October, the startup was a finalist at Northern Europe’s largest startup event Slush and featured on Forbes as one the hottest lifestyle trends for 2015.
And CosmEthics isn’t slowing down. On the roadmap is its launch in China, app for professional users and securing additional investors in a new funding round.
3. Pulse On gets hearts racing
Pulse On gets our heart rates going and not only because the startup has its roots in famed Finnish technology giant Nokia.
Spun off from the telecoms company in 2012, Pulse On was founded to develop the most accurate and reliable optical heart rate monitors possible. This came true late last year as the company launched ‘Pulse On’, a lightweight wrist wearable with a unique optical heart rate sensor. Targeted at sports and fitness enthusiasts, the device measures heart rate by optically detecting variations in blood flow in the wrist.
The measurement data automatically syncs with an accompanying mobile app and users receive individualised analytics of their training and easy-to-understand feedback such as training intensity and recovery time. Pulse On claims to offer the best reliability in a variety of conditions, from high endurance sports to rest, and match the accuracy of traditional chest straps.
While Pulse On is targeting a highly competitive market, the combination of its patented sensor technology, over two million euros in funding and placement among Red Herring’s TOP 100 European startups suggests the company is in no mood the be intimidated by even its biggest rivals.
4. You-app makes wellbeing bite sized
If it is good enough for Jamie Oliver, it is good enough for us and that secures a place for the last startup on our list, Fifth Corner and its ‘You-app’.
The wellness app advocates healthier lives through ‘micro-actions’ instead of constant measuring of fitness. You-app gives users daily micro-actions (varying from eating a healthy snack to walking barefoot) which are completed by taking a picture and sharing it with the app community. The micro-actions are decided by experts and cover food, mindfulness, movement and the things we love.
While the approach may sound gentle compared to many fitness programmes, it is supported by science. Many researchers see small steps as the best path to sustainable change.
You-app also has a strong and vocal backer in aforementioned celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. He works with Fifth Corner on the app’s content, particularly with regard to food related micro-actions.
Fifth Corner has yet to divulge exact numbers, but the company says You-app has gained hundreds of thousands of registered users since its early launch in January and its next version is just around the corner. Furthermore, the startup is about to embark upon a new founding round to build on its initial seed round of 550 000 dollars.
Sounds to us You-app is only getting started.
Text: Eeva Haaramo
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