Healium, a virtual and augmented reality biofeedback company, announced Monday one of the largest private equity raises for a women-owned business in mid-Missouri history. The startup — which transforms bio-data from any fitness tracker into immersive, reactive media — has also entered into a know-how license agreement with Mayo Clinic.
A “virtual firefly release” using mobile phones was planned Monday morning with the Healium team and Missouri stakeholders to celebrate the news, said Sarah Hill, CEO of the Columbia-based startup.
Through the newly announced know-how agreement, the Mayo Clinic will provide subject matter experts to assist in the development of immersive mental health and fitness capabilities utilizing virtual and augmented reality. The Mayo Clinic also is among the investors in Healium’s recent $3.6 million oversubscribed seed round.
“By collaborating with Mayo Clinic, we’ve built an important bridge between biometric data, generative AI, and XR content,” said Hill, who developed the technology with Dr. Jeff Tarrant in 2016 to counteract the traumatic media images she encountered as a former TV broadcaster.
“Media images can be hurtful but when compounded differently into something soothing, they can also heal,” Hill added. “These are powerful, drugless, portable coping mechanisms for this mental health emergency that quickly interrupt the stress response.”
Click here to check out Healium’s journey to Super Bowl weekend.
In addition to the Mayo Clinic’s investment, Healium’s new seed round included such funds as KCRise Fund and the Missouri Technology Corporation, as well as Ambition Fund II, Captain Partners & Astronaut Holdings, Citrine Angels, Coact Capital, Gaingels, Impact Venture Capital, QRM Capital, Stadia Ventures, Tidewater Capital, and Underdog Ventures.
Healium already has generated millions of dollars in revenue and created jobs in the high-tech sector for the Missouri economy, Hill said. The company was named one of Startland News’ Kansas City Startups to Watch in 2020.
The company’s success, Hill said, is the result of state and local resources that helped it succeed including the Missouri Innovation Center, REDI, Mizzou Venture Mentoring Service, the MU Entrepreneurship Legal Clinic, KCRise Fund, the Missouri Women’s Business Center, Pipeline Entrepreneurs, Missouri IDEA Fund Co-investment, WIN for Entrepreneurs, and the Enterprise Center of Johnson County.
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Healium’s products and patented technologies bring biometric data from fitness trackers to life inside virtual, augmented, or mixed reality stories so the user can see and interact with their own EEG brain patterns, heart rate, skin conductance, blood pressure or other biomarkers.
Mayo Clinic has a financial interest in Healium’s technology, the company noted, and will use any revenue it receives to support its not-for-profit mission in patient care, education, and research.
The startup’s immersive products including Sleepium are used worldwide in schools, with frontline healthcare workers, elite athletes, and the U.S. military to self-manage anxiety, burnout, and downshift the nervous system before sleep or stressful events. In seven peer-reviewed journals, Healium has been shown to have clinical benefit in as little as 4 minutes.
Click here to learn more about the science behind Healium.
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The technology works by spatializing biodata from consumer wearables users might already have in your home into a 3D solar system, butterflies, or even a Jaguar that will stop pacing if you quiet your mind. VR goggles are optional. Healium also has a mobile augmented reality version that works just with a phone or tablet.
Healium’s IOS and Android mobile apps are currently compatible with Apple Watch (iphone) and consumer grade EEG headbands with more fitness trackers coming soon. Users can get a free two-week trial by downloading the Healium app on the Apple, Google Play, or virtual reality app stores by searching HEALium.