You might not have ever heard of Misfit Wearables but you'll want to pay attention starting now that its first gadget has made its debut.
Founded by Agamatrix founders Sonny Vu and Sridhar Iyengar, the Redwood City-based company also credits former sugar water peddler and Apple CEO John Sculley as a co-founder. And its backed by Khosla Ventures, which seems to knows its shit when it comes to wearable health tech. Not only did Khosla-backed Jawbone announce UP 2.0 yesterday, today Misfit Wearables is announcing its first wellness consumer product, the Shine.
In an already crowded market (read: UP, FuelBand, LarkLife, Fitbit, Amiigo, etc.), the $99 Shine, uh, shines for a number of reasons, including the accolade for "world's first all-metal wireless fitness device". Say what? The quarter-sized wearable activity tracker syncs with your smartphone without a cable connection or Bluetooth connection. Place Shine on top of your smartphone and voila! (And it can even sync when said smartphone is in Airplane mode.)
But what exactly is it?
Like Fitbit or UP or any other glorified pedometer, the Shine tracks any bipedal motion—walking, jogging, running—to help you reach your specified goal. It even calculates cycling and swimming but adds a more weighted value to those activities. "For activities outside these three (the triathlon sports), it'll act like other activity monitors in that it will measure general activity levels and convert to steps," Vu told me. So you can't really adjust your yoga session into Shine's software like you can with the UP, for instance.
Carved out of a solid chunk of aircraft grade aluminum, the Shine is waterproof but somehow displays a halo of lights that show progress and even the time. It weighs less than 10 grams and runs on a replaceable battery that you can switch out every six months or so. A powerful magnet can be attached to wear just about anywhere on your body or you can snatch a wristlet accessory if that's more your thing.
While Vu wouldn't tell me what types of components make up the guts of the Shine, he did say that an accelerometer is one of a couple different sensors wedged into the disc. Another interesting thing about Misfit is that the team is spread out across the world. Manufacturing and sensor development are handled in South Korea with industrial and hardware engineering in California. A team of 20 based in Vietnam handle app development and data science.
So how this any different than the others? Well, for starters, Vu and Iyengar founded Agamatrix, which created the first FDA approved glucose meter for the iPhone. So yeah, these guys know a thing or two about the health tech arena.
And if you figured out that the name of the company is somehow related to Steve Jobs, then you win a cookie! (Sorry, I don't have cookies for all of you.)
"As far as the Misfit name goes, we happened to be founded on the day Steve Jobs died. John Sculley and I were sitting at a restaurant near Cupertino talking about the venture when we heard the news and, inspired by the "Here's to the crazy ones" commercial, we decided on the name," said Vu. "We also liked the name because all of us at some point in our lives have felt like we didn't fit in, and now we finally have a home with like-minded friends and colleagues at the company."
Misfit is looking to raise $100,000 within the next month on indiegogo with varying tiers of contributions. The Shine may retail for $99 but you can throw down $49 now to secure one for a March 2013 delivery.