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Homegrown Smart Wearables Startup KaHa Raises US$6.2M in Series B Funding

KaHa, a Singapore-based end-to-end IoT platform startup for smart wearables, has raised US$6.2 million in Series B funding to accelerate its growth in Asia. The funding round was led by ICT Fund, a specialized deep-tech venture capital fund and an existing strategic investor from Europe.

The funds raised in this round will enable the company to boost its research and development and scale its operations in the Asia Pacific region. APAC is the world’s fastest growing smart wearables market, outperforming Europe, the Americas and Africa.

KaHa will be expanding its presence in Singapore as well as play a more significant role in the country’s IoT ecosystem. This year, the firm launched the COVE R2C IoT Innovation Lab, a multipartite IoT innovation and research lab in one-north technology hub. In close collaboration with public and private partners, KaHa is currently developing innovative use cases on smart wearables. Valuable partners across the IoT development value chain include Singapore research institute A*STAR SIMTech, Bridgestone, Curtis Australia, MHA Manufacture de Haute Accessoirie Partners, Tex Line and Titan.

An example of KaHa’s innovation is its collaboration with Tex Line and A*STAR SIMTech to create the first made-in-Singapore Smart Fitness T-shirt. The smart-T, which was tested at the one-north Run 2018, monitors live ECG, live heart rate, heart rate variance, V02 Max and other health parameters. Recently, the company showcased the new features of the second-generation Smart Fitness T-shirt at a Singapore tech exhibit. The latest version is made from conductive yarn that enables the smart module to be placed anywhere on the T-shirt, increasing flexibility and creativity in the design and convenience for the user.

Beyond smart wearables, KaHa, together with A*STAR Institute of Microelectronics or IME, developed an extravasation detection proof of concept designed to detect the degrees of swelling during infusions. Being able to detect varying degrees of swelling, the sensor patch and monitoring system will help improve patient safety by assisting in the early detection of complication to ensure immediate care be given to patients, particularly babies and children.

“As a company with a mission to create a better and safer environment, it is important to us to bring innovative and relevant technologies into a consumer’s everyday life. Apart from helping us expand our product line, this new round of funding will allow KaHa to discover more breakthrough products that can support the health and wellness, sports and fitness, safety and digital payments needs, as well as increase the COVE platform’s availability internationally and improve our accessibility and affordability,” said Pawan Gandhi, Founder and CEO of KaHa.  “With the continued support of our existing strategic investor and new partner ICT Fund, we are strategically positioned to make our mission possible.”

Brijesh Pande, managing partner of ICT Fund said: “We are delighted to partner with KaHa, which is well placed to capitalize on the fast-growing market opportunity in smart wearables. Consumer product brands will increasingly need to offer ‘smart’ products to maintain leadership and KaHa, with its innovative end-to-end platform, is a perfect partner for global brands.”

“We are very pleased with KaHa’s progress and track record and it’s been clear that its platform can be scaled across various brands.  We are excited about increasing our investment in KaHa on this next phase as it continues to drive scale and growth in the wearable tech and IoT space,” said Andy Raswork, Board Member of Existing Strategic Investor.

Incorporated in Singapore in 2015, KaHa is one of the few companies in the world to have an end-to-end IoT platform for smart wearables including electronics design, printed circuit board assembly, application framework for iOS and Android, cloud services, data analytics and smart after-sales service tool.  The platform enables partners and customers to incorporate the latest technology without prohibitive financial costs and speed up their go-to-market time for smart products including smart bands, smartwatches, smart accessories and smart apparel.

With in-built Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning algorithms, COVE provides innovative, exciting and personalized user experiences and enhanced engagement with consumers.

KaHa is showing significant early customer traction and expects the number of devices powered by its platform to exceed two million by the end of 2019.The company also aims to increase manpower in its Singapore headquarters and offices in China, India and Switzerland within the next two years, as part of the expansion plans.

The global wearables market is projected to grow significantly. According to CCS Insight, sale of smart wearables is predicted to grow at a ~16.5 percent CAGR, from 121 million units in 2018 to 260 million units in 2023, creating a market opportunity worth almost US$30 billion.

In Singapore, revenue in the wearables segment amounts to US$15 million in 2019, based on a Statista report. It is expected to expand at an impressive 7.7 percent and reach US$21 million by 2023. User penetration is 5.4 percent in 2019 and is expected to hit 5.6 percent by 2023. According to A*STAR SIMTech, smart wearable tech will drive innovation and productivity in all sectors of Singapore’s economy.

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