The Finnish startup looking to get into your bed
Finnish sleep monitor maker Beddit is on a mission: to put a Beddit monitor to every bed. With eight million US dollars of funding raised to date and a major distribution deal in the US, it is off to a strong start.
Beddit first rose to the headlines when its 2013 Indiegogo campaign became one the most successful Finnish crowdfunding stories ever. The company hit its 80 000-US dollar target in just six days, eventually reaching 500 000 US dollars and received pre-orders from 106 countries. In January 2014, the first Beddit sleep monitors arrived to the market.
“The Indiegogo campaign exceeded our expectations,” says Lasse Leppäkorpi, founder and CEO of the company. “It generated so much media coverage and retail and investor contacts that we haven’t really needed to do any marketing until now.”
A year later Beddit has increased its turnover a hundred-fold, total funding has passed eight million US dollars and it’s sleep monitor is on sale in the US, Europe and Asia. Meanwhile a new distribution deal with the home retail giant ‘Bed, Bath and Beyond’ means that the Beddit sleep monitor will soon be available in 1 500 stores across the US. Just in time for Christmas.
The sleep monitor is using an ultra-thin film sensor which is placed under the bed sheet and records heart rate, breathing and movement. The data is sent to a smartphone over Bluetooth and provides both sleep tracking and analysis with tips on how to improve the quality of your sleep.
For Beddit the timing has been perfect as the ‘quantified self’ trend has exploded around the world. It also means significant competition as many wearable devices are providing sleep data as well as a myriad of basic sleep tracking apps built into mobile phones.
“We can offer more varied and accurate data than basic wearables, but our biggest differentiator is usability. You just sleep in your own bed and don’t need to wear anything. It takes a few minutes to set it up for the first time and you slide the sensor under the sheet, but then you can forget about it,” explains Leppäkorpi.
“We believe that tracking wellbeing will become invisible. Sensors integrated into our living environment, smartphones and smart watches together with intelligent applications will do the tracking and current wearable wellness trackers will become obsolete.”
Currently Beddit employs 17 people in its offices in Helsinki and San Francisco and hires one–two new employees every month. Much of the focus is on strengthening the company’s presence in the US and Europe while putting significant investment into R&D.
Beddit’s technology stems from Leppäkorpi’s own experiences as an athlete. A poor triathlon season made him look more deeply into the role of sleep and recovery to health.
Later Leppäkorpi’s Doctor of Science (D.Sc) studies specialised in ballistocardiography, a method for analysing cardiovascular system based on measuring micro-movements of a person. Combined with his sports background, it inspired him to look for co-founders and Beddit launched in 2006.
Initially the company focused on licensing its technology and providing sleep monitoring data for medical and fitness professionals, but in late 2012 Beddit decided to build its own user-friendly consumer product.
“Now we have two different user groups,” says Leppäkorpi. “Our main product, the mobile app, is targeted at consumers who want to improve their wellness. But we also have a more advanced web service used by medical professionals, researchers and athletes.
“We are building a new wellbeing portal for the web which connects our users, offers more complex analysis and links to other [third party] services.”
A second generation of the Beddit sleep monitor will be launched later this month which provides a more automated experience as the app doesn’t need be turned on in the night. With it comes a bigger focus on coaching services and overall wellbeing.
“We want to develop more ways to use the sleep data to improve our users’ wellbeing,” Leppäkorpi explains. “For example we are building waking up experiences based on the data. In the future our APIs could be integrated with smart home systems and guide how the house is heated or lit during the night.”
With massive growth in the quantified self market and smart homes set to be a key beneficiary in the emergence of the so-called ‘Internet of Things’, Beddit is well positioned to capitalise on both. Never has it been better to be asleep on the job.
Text: Eeva Haaramo