Business

Smart air vents, baby monitors, and health trackers lead R/GA’s first class of connected device startups

Image Credit: Owlet

TechStars and digital ad agency R/GA have finally announced the first class of their connected devices accelerator, and the first 10 startups are as diverse as you might expect.

Announced back in August, the R/GA Connected Devices Accelerator is aimed at helping to build the growing ecosystem of connected hardware — including wearable devices, smart sensors, and 3D printers.

Those fields are well represented in the program’s first class, which includes companies tackling issues in healthcare, energy, retail, and even indoor agriculture. More, all of these startups will have access to an impressive amount of help, thanks to R/GA’s expertise in design, branding, and marketing. Here’s a brief look at the first class:

Owlet, which we’ve written about before, creates a smart baby sock that gives parents information about their babies’ heart rate, sleep quality and sleep temperature. It’s already raised $224,000 towards making the device a reality.

Dubbed “Waze for bikes,” Hammerhead Navigation makes a heads-up navigation device that gives cyclists route directions using a string of LED lights. The device also has a community component, letting riders share their routes with other Hammerhead users.

NYC-based Enertiv creates hardware and software that makes it easy for users to monitor their electricity use. Founded in 2011, it’s fueled by $550,000 in seed funding.

Footmarks is one of a growing number of companies trying to help retailers understand what customers do when they shop offline.

Like Nest, Keen Home is a hardware company focused on building out the future of the connected home. The company’s first product is a connected air vent, which automatically redirects the air generated by a home’s central HVAC systems.

Founded in Puerto Rico, KyteLabs says its goal is to make hardware and software that makes people’s lives easier and more enjoyable. The company’s early products include a connected lightbulb, a 3D rotary LED display, and an umbrella that lights up when it’s raining outside.

Joining Owlet in the health tracking space is Qualia Health, which wants to make it easier for people with chronic diseases to track their health.

Rounding out the class is Ringblingz, which calls itself a “social notification platform that keeps you connected,” Urban farming company Grove, and QoL, which is also tackling the health monitor market.

We’ll hear more about these companies in the coming months — and especially on their demo day next March.


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