Major funding boosts expansion for StretchSense

01 July 2016
Dr Ben O'Brien with PM Award winning StretchSense sensors
StretchSense CEO, Dr Ben O'Brien

A company marketing wearable sensor technology developed at the University of Auckland has just had a major funding boost from a Japanese corporation.

The Auckland-based company, StretchSense - a spinout from the University’s Biomimetics Lab at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute – has gained the growth funding for expansion.

The ‘Series A’ funding is for established start-ups that have a proven market and market traction and are ready to expand.

StretchSense announced the major funding from Japanese corporation ‘StartToday’ that owns ‘Zozotown’ - Japan’s largest online retailer of apparel and accessories.

StretchSense manufactures soft stretchy sensors and generators for wearables, and sells to more than 200 customers in 28 countries.

The company’s products are ultra-soft and precise, making them ideal for sporting, AR/VR, animation, and healthcare applications.
StretchSense CEO Dr Ben O’Brien says, “We are very excited to be working with StartToday as we enter this new phase of growth.”

He says the new funding will enable the company to establish sales offices in the United States, Europe and Asia, and significantly expand the company’s production capabilities and research and development towards self-powered sensors.

“StartToday’s access to the Japanese market as well as expertise in fashion, distribution, and e-commerce makes the corporation a perfect strategic investor for StretchSense, says Ben. “They are an e-commerce company built around fashion - we are a sensor company focused on tech - so they are a natural partner for us.”

“StretchSense will use the funds to upgrade its pilot production and research and development capabilities in New Zealand and to expand its marketing, sales, and support capability offshore,” he says. “Ultimately StretchSense wants to develop unobtrusive self-powered sensors for wearables that scavenge energy from their environment.”

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