Deals

Google didn’t ask to buy us, says CEO of brainwave-reading startup (exclusive)

InteraXon's Ariel Garten

Above: InteraXon's Ariel Garten

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Yesterday, we heard rumors that Google co-founder Sergey Brin approached Toronto-based InteraXon about a possible acquisition. According to the anonymous source, CEO and co-founder Ariel Garten told Brin she was not interested.

But Garten told us today that no such overture was made.

“I certainly know Sergey and have talked to him and lots of companies,” she said, “but there was no acquisition offer.”

“I don’t know where that [rumor] came from, ” Garten said, although she characterized the report as “flattering.”

A Google spokesperson has declined to comment.

“Right now,” Garten continued, “our focus is on building meaningful brainwave tools, and, if an opportunity arises to generate more meaningful applications, we’d look at that. ”

The company has already raised $7.2 million, including $6 million in a first round of institutional funding led by Horizon Ventures last summer . The company also staged an Indiegogo compaign through December that bagged nearly $300,000.

“We’ve been told we could become a half-billion to a billion-dollar company,” Garten said.

InteraXon makes the Muse brainwave-tracking headband. Set for release in May at an expected price of about $300, it uses six EEG sensors to monitor electrical activity in the brain. Five brainwave types are tracked, and a user can generate repeatable changes in those brainwaves by focusing on specific tasks.

Those patterns of changes are then used to send digital signals to an app on a device. If the brainwave patterns can be repeated and then monitored accurately, a wide range of possible tasks could be brain-driven.

Garten said that the first application, called Calm, will use the technology to “help calm and settle the mind to get control over your own cognitive pressures, to shut down that little voice in your head. ” The company is currently taking pre-orders.

Is she using Calm on a regular basis?

“Sure,” she said. “How else can you run a company? “


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