Wearables are devices that use various types of sensors to observe the underlying rhythms of our health. They create personal datasets which enable the user to understand aspects of their daily functions. We evaluate wearables on four bases: what variables they measure (and it relates to human health), how sensitively they measure it, the presentation of the data to the user, and the utility of that knowledge- what the overall impact of managing your health in this area will have. That data is the constituent element of the new commercial arrangement we’ll be able to make.
Case Study: Oura (TXV Portfolio Company)
Oura is an SF-based health and technology company that produces wearables and mobile health monitoring technology. One of the most advanced wearables on the market, the Oura Ring is packed with sensors that measure a wide range of body metrics associated with fitness, sleep, and readiness for physical activities. The Oura Ring measures body temperature, blood oxygen levels, heart rate, heart rate variability, and breathing rate to determine which stage you’re in at any given moment while you sleep — and how long you spend in that stage before transitioning to the next. By tracking the quality and quantity of your sleep and activity throughout the day, Oura provides actionable insights to drive better performance.
Lack of sleep is one of the most underrated and under-discussed factors when it comes to the conversation of human performance. According to the National Library of Medicine, 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from a disorder of sleep and wakefulness, hindering daily functioning and adversely affecting health and longevity. Sleep loss is oftentimes overlooked. Everyone knows we are a bit “off” without the proper amount of rest, but few know that the effects of poor sleep can impact more physiological factors. Chronic sleep loss has been attributed to health issues such as an increased risk of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, heart attack, and stroke.
Case Study: Levels (TXV Portfolio Company)
Levels is a metabolic health company seeking to educate and empower consumers to understand and address their metabolic health. Levels produces a sensor that attaches to the back of a person's arm, and via a tiny probe that inserts under the surface of their skin, continuously measures a person’s glucose, taking a reading automatically. That data is accessible via your smartphone app, and provides real-time feedback on how diet and lifestyle choices impact your metabolic health.
Metabolic health describes how well our body produces and uses energy, and those of us who live in the West are in an undiagnosed crisis in metabolic health, as 92% of us have some level of metabolic dysfunction. Metabolic health, we are finding out, sits at the center of so many processes, and may have wide-ranging effects on health. Every one of the trillions of cells in our bodies is a small powerplant that converts fuel (usually glucose or fat) to energy the body can use (typically ATP). When our cells cannot run those processes efficiently, it can lead to any number of conditions depending on what cells are suffering. In the brain, poor metabolic health can contribute to decreased mental acuity (brain fog), anxiety, or Alzheimer’s. In the blood vessels, it can contribute to microvascular disease (like erectile dysfunction and retinopathy, and kidney disease) and cardiovascular disease (like heart attacks and strokes). In the liver, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. In many cells: cancer, which is linked to poor metabolic health. Metabolic dysfunction can even lead to obesity by interfering with our body’s fat storage and burning capabilities. Books like The Mind Gut Connection, and others, have started to increase cultural awareness of this space in ways that will redefine how we are assessing the things that we assume.