Brain boosting startups. These 17 startups are attempting to move into uncharted territory by providing products that will “hack the brain” to enhance cognitive abilities or even treat mental illnesses with not only dietary supplements but tech apps and wearables. These are the companies to watch.
The original article can be found at CBInsights.com
Meditation Apps, Nootropics, And Mood-Enhancing Wearables: 11 Startups Boosting The Brain
A few startups are focused on stress reduction and cognitive enhancement, but others on more serious problems like depression and nervous system diseases.
The brain is relatively uncharted territory for tech. Harvard University geneticist George Church has written about impending technologies that “extend our brain both biologically and electronically,” while AFP describes the brain as “the next frontier for the tech sector.”
We used the CB Insights database to identify 11 startups targeting the brain with their products and tech-enabled therapies. In just the past year, companies like Halo Neuroscience, InteraXon, Headspace, Nootrobox, and Israel-based BrainsGate have raised VC funds for supplements, apps, wearables and other brain-boosting technologies.
Some companies hope to “hack the brain” to improve cognitive performance and reduce stress, while others are looking to treat mental illnesses and nervous system disorders. They use a range of methods, including nootropics, gamified brain training, app-led meditation, acoustics, non-invasive therapies, and wearable devices.
The most well-funded startup on the list, Neuronetics, raised a $34.3M Series F round last year and is backed by a range of investors including corporates GE Ventures and Pfizer Venture Investments. Neuronetics developed a therapy that uses magnetic fields to stimulate brain regions in patients who have not responded to anti-depressants.
Nootrobox, which develops and sells nootropics — supplements believed to be cognitive enhancers — direct to consumers, raised a $2.3M seed round in November 2015 from Andreessen Horowitz and angel investors.
Thync, also backed by Andreessen Horowitz as well as Khosla Ventures, has developed a mood-enhancing wearable device that uses electric pulses to stimulate different brain regions.
We updated this post on 7/15/2016 to add 6 startups, including Israel-based Intendu, New York-based Happify, and South Korea-based Ybrain.
Among brain training apps, Elevate Labs, a game-based cognitive training tool which was selected as the app of the year by Apple in 2014, claims to have more than 10 million app downloads. A similar company, Lumosity, which settled with the FTC over its former claims to “reduce or delay cognitive impairment associated with age and other serious health conditions,” now says its games “challenge core cognitive abilities.”
See the table below for the complete list of startups:
Boosting The Brain: 17 Startups To Watch Company Description Disclosed funding Select Investors Neuronetics Non-invasive therapy to treat major depressive disorder in patients not responding to anti-depressants $158.5M GE Ventures, InterWest Partners, New Leaf Venture Partners, ONSET Ventures, Investor Growth Capital, Pfizer Venture Investments, Polaris Partners, Quaker BioVentures, Three Arch Partners, KBL Healthcare Ventures, Accuitive Medical Ventures, Partisan Management Group, Innovation Factory BrainsGate Medical device company developing technology to treat diseases of the central nervous system $79.5M Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Agate Medical Investments, Pitango Venture Capital, Infinity Fund, MB Venture Partners Lumosity Brain training games to improve cognitive skills $67.4M Discovery Communications, FirstMark Capital, Harrison Metal, Menlo Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners Headspace Mindful meditation techniques to relieve stress, improvce focus and creativity $39.7M Advancit Capital, Breyer Capital, Broadway Video Ventures, Deerfield Management, Freelands Ventures, WME Ventures Lantern Cognitive behavioral therapy and personalized strategies for emotional well being $21.4M Mayfield Fund, SoftTech VC, Stanford University, The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Muse Meditation app that analyzes brain signals and uses sound technology to guide the mind $16.7M Build Ventures, Horizons Ventures, New Ground Ventures, OMERS Ventures, Bridge Builders Collaborative, ff Venture Capital Thync Wearables that deliver low-level electric signals to netves to energize or calm the mind $13M Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures NeuroSky Users can busild custom apps using data collected from the biosensors $11.8M Softbank Corp., Taiwan Global BioFund, TUVC and WR Hambrecht Halo Neuroscience Wearables based on transcranial stimulation $10.7M Andreessen Horowitz, Lux Capital, Jazz Venture Partners, Xfund, SoftTech VC Peak Mobile-based brain training platform $10M Creandum, DN Capital, London Venture Partners, Qualcomm Ventures, Initial Capital, Jaina Capital, Lifeline Ventures, LVP Happify App with activities that engagte users and help them overcome negative thoughts nad stress $9.83 Bridge Builders Collaborative, Mangrove Capital Partners,
Elevate Labs Game-based cognitive skills training $7.7M Sequoia Capital, 500 Startups,Collaborative Fund, ENIAC Ventures Ybrain Diagnostic and theraprutic techniques for patients with neuropsychiatric disorders $4.14 Stonebridge Capital Nootrobox Nootropic pills to enhance brain activity and cognitive skills $2.82M Andreessen Horowitz TruBrain Products include nootropic drinks, capsules and coffee with perfomance enhancers $1.66M Brightstone Venture Capital, Sherpa Capital Intendu Intendu’s Fuctional Brain Trainer Platform uses video games to improve patients’ congitive funcitons NA Impact First Inevstments NeuroNation Subscription-based personalized brain training activities NA Spiegel Online, XLHEALTH