Websummit 2019 last November, was an invigorating event. Loved it. I was there to observe and discover. I found myself fascinated by the digital health startups. And in particular the sleep startups.
I spent a lot of time wandering or else sitting somewhere, taking it all in. My favourite thing was to grab an oat milk latte from the Google stand and just to sit and observe.
The energy and excitement at the event each year mesmerizes me. Love that everybody seems to have an agenda, some sort of important outcome to achieve at the conference. Whether that be to get funding, to discover the future, or to meet the inventors and leaders of the future.
If the Mental health tech space was heating up in 2018, we can say it was very very impressive in 2019! In addition to the growing number of mental training and sleep startups, there were also daily meditation practices and yoga sessions during the conference.
During my stay in Lisbon, my sister introduced me to Baraza Yoga Studio which I attended each morning! Adored this studio, I will be back!
Digital health startups at Web Summit 2019 included Nutrix, Freeletics, Eight Sleep, myFitnessPal, Healx, Ohne, Shleep, Neroes, BestDoctor and GenePlanet. Each and every one is currently transforming the healthcare industry in some shape or form.
Sleep startups set to rock 2020
Below I list my favourite sleep startup contenders.
Sleep Startup Shleep is on a simple mission – to help the world sleep better.
At the pitch on the opening night, the dutch startup educated us about a sleep deprivation epidemic out there which costs companies annually 3-5k (US dollars) per employee. Every minute of sleep loss directly impacts how much we get done, the quality of our work and how much we make out of our personal lives. I really do not doubt that what they are saying is very true.
Let’s assume you need 8 hours of sleep. But you’re getting only 6. Research shows that after only 4 days you will perform like someone who just drank 4 beers. So you are basically drunk. And the nasty thing, is you will not realise it. Because a sleep deprived mind loses self insight. – Jöran Albers, Co-Founder of Shleep
Jöran Albers, Co-Founder of Shleep demands that we should all inspire to be more like leaders today who make sleep a priority (Satya Nadella, Jeff Bezos). He claims that research shows that they are the position they are because they have always made sleep a priority.
How does Shleep work?
Shleep improves the performance of companies by optimizing the sleep of leaders and their teams via sleep programs designed around a coaching platform. The platform is backed by a team of neuroscientists and sleep psychologists who bring the latest sleep research. The digital health startup has been shown to reduce sleep loss by up to 40% within only 8 weeks.
Eight-sleep is a US based sleep fitness company also on a mission to help you to sleep better. They call for everybody to join them on what they call a “sleep movement”.
There is a growing movement of people who are using sleep as a way to optimize their performance. But the trend is not going in that direction yet. And the reason is, there is actually no product in the market that is solving that.. So that’s the tension that we identify with. – Alexandra Zatarain, Co-Founder of Eight-Sleep
The US-based Tech company creates hardware, software as well as many more digital products and services in the effort to guide you to create the best habits and best environment for your sleep. They track many different sleep based metrics in the process of doing this. And work alongside coaches and therapists to bring that expert perspective.
How does Eight-Sleep work?
Eight Sleep’s signature product is a high-tech smart bed enabled with sensors which works with you to improve your sleep habits. The Eight-Sleep bed tracks and delivers to you a report. This report gives you information about:
- how long you are sleeping for
- how consistent you are with your habits – eg. what time you went to bed, what time you woke up, your tosses and turns etc.
Eight-sleep also use their tech to optimize your immediate sleep environment. There are other things that can interfere with a good nights sleep that are sometimes out of your control – eg. the temperature of your bed, your bed itself, the noise, the light, the oxygen and the humidity can all affect your sleep. Via their technology, Eight-Sleep can optimize your environment by adjusting it to your exact needs.
You can get your data in the mobile application and you also get educated at the same time. The sleep startup is very transparent as you go through the processes as to why each of the steps are relevant for the goal you are trying to achieve. There is not only a specific explanation of: “this is the time you have slept” – but also a “how we have measured that?”, “why this is important?” and “what are the guidelines?”.
Eight-Sleep’s plans for the future
The “perfect use case” is still an unexplored area in health and wellness where Eight-Sleep believe they can really help. A personalized approach to sleep environment is important because every night is different, every person is different and if you share your bed you both have different preferences.
Eight-Sleep may in the future also eventually supplement that digital experience with connecting you to an actual therapist that can coach you further.
Other Digital Health Startups that look promising
Mental Training for Athletes Startup – Neroes
Neroes is a mental training platform for athlete’s that makes them more resilient. Backed by AI, it empowers athlete’s to control their emotions at the same time they control and train their muscles.
Neroes has a strong academic background with a team of neuroscientists & clinicians, experts in neuro-feedback, as well as data scientists and developers. Neroes is backed up by real science and have provided a validated way for clubs to access and enhance athletes mental potential to increase sports KPI’s.
How does Neroes work?
Neroes starts by reading the brains electrical activity with a commercial device. The platform uses real-time personalized feedback for maximum brain impact and effect which results in an increase of sports performance due to neuroplasticity. This activity is processed, analysed and identified to be displayed.
The way Neroes shapes the athlete’s mind can be compared to learning to play a new instrument. When you are learning you are changing brain circuits. Neroes does the same, instead regulating stress levels and enhancing emotional and body control.
Rare Disease Treatment Startup – Healx
Healx uses AI to predict treatments for rare diseases at scale. Its mission is simple – to treat 100 rare disease treatments by 2025.
There are 7000 rare diseases, 95% of these are without a treatment and there are 400 million patients worldwide.
What is really exciting about AI and machine learning, is that Healx can aim to find treatments at scale.
How does Healx work?
They use AI machine learning to look at existing drugs and combinations and see how they can be matched to a rare disease. They focus on existing drugs as the best way of inventing a new drug is to start with an old drug. Algorithms can run through the 7000 rare diseases, find the best existing drugs based on data, the number of criteria etc.