Saks Snacks #2: June 6, 2021
👂 Hearables, Audiovisual tech to combat mental health, Smart Toilets, and more!
Greetings from Miami! ☀️ In this week’s edition, we explore:
Audiovisual tech to combat mental health
Venture capital - $ flowing towards mental health tech, VR, CGM’s, & more
Heartwarming spark moment of the week
🍭Health Tech Snacks
👨💻Wearables of The Week
With the rise of “earbuds” (market projections below), hearables present a tremendous opportunity for innovation at the intersection of wellness technologies and personalized audio. Expect considerable progress in the hearable industry in the next few years, with more consumer hardware, content offerings, and biometric options becoming available. Apple is on track to sell 100m wearable units (Airpods, Watch, Beats headphones) in 2021, coming off an impressive 2020 with its home and wearables division expanding by 25%, selling over 110 million AirPods . For context, AirPods generate more revenue than Spotify, Twitter, & Snap combined!
With growing wellness concerns comes an increasingly important set of roles and opportunities for hearables, biometrics and music and sound-based solutions… There are also several startups hoping to become the next digital leader in the fields of functional and therapeutic music and sound therapy. We will see more of these emerge and a couple possibly acquired in 2021.
Learn more about 2021 Hearable Trends
🤑 Startup Scene -
Sana Health, a pain management audiovisual technology tool (relaxation mask), was recently designated as a breakthrough device by the FDA for fibromyalgia.
How it works: It uses audio waves to stimulate parts of the brain and can relieve the pain of fibromyalgia.
Combatting Mental Health: Mental health VC crossed $1B in 2020 and is expected to increase in ‘21. Along with rising investment comes new challenges around defining, quantifying products/services previously residing within traditional health care.
Why this matters: This biotherapeutic wearable can redefine how pain is treated designed for mental health & general wellness, has the real potential for a non-pharmaceutical approach to address an issue that impacts >750k Americans each year | Learn More
Last week (5/27), Sana Health received another undisclosed amount of funding from Monozukuri Ventures.
📡 Raise Radar -
Virtuix is a developer of a VR platform that “enables players to walk and run in 360 degrees in virtual reality.” Its Virtuix Omni is the first virtual reality interface for moving freely and naturally in VR games and applications.
Gaming-inspired options continue to emerge. After Zwift has raised $600M was valued at $1B+, and boasts over 2.5M accounts, we’ll continue to see “entertainment first, fitness second” options arise. Interested to see what Virtuix’s end product looks like.
Supersapiens raised a 14.5M round, seeking to bring CGM tech into the sports world, focusing on optimum nutrient intake and proper fueling | Learn More
They’ve secured the largest investment in the sports CGM (continuous glucose monitor) space, investment from leading fitness and performance brands including the founder of Zwift (mentioned above) and Wahoo.
👨👩👦👦 From the Community
Shoutout to Jon Z. for bringing this riveting device to our attention…
Learnings (#1 and #2 😉 ) Smart Toilets - A disease-detecting precision health toilet can sense multiple signs of illness through automated urine and stool analysis. | Learn More
This could be appealing for people who are genetically predisposed to certain conditions such as IBS, prostate cancer, kidney failure, or those looking to stay on top of their health.
🥂To your health
Had you heard of CGM’s (Continuous Glucose Monitors) before reading about SuperSapiens☝️? While traditionally used by people with Type-1 diabetes, these tools can help others develop metabolic awareness throughout 30-day+ trials.
“Ultimately, they can help close the loop between actions users and the reactions their bodies experience. They allow us to be in connection between body and mind at a point that was previously impossible”
Yes, CGMs can help people with T2D. The lessons learned from users can quickly turn into sustainable habits promoting better health. We (humans) are complex organisms, and visualizing data that’s unique to our unique genetic, biochemical, and microbial blueprint is essential.
With an estimated 30% of the global population being pre-diabetic, and 70% of those people will progress to Type 2 in their lifetime, this is an important topic I’ll continue exploring throughout the newsletters and essays. I’ll share my own experiences and learnings over the coming months. (Learn More about CGM’s)
Before we dive into specifics in later editions, it’s important to tee up the basics.
Getting started: An overview and FAQ’s of the longevity field for beginners. Laura Deming eloquently breaks down the research areas in longevity (caloric restriction, Insulin / IGF, etc.)
What’s possible? Is it possible to extend our lifespan 2x over the next century? This innovation roadmap (NYT) explores these ideas at a high level and helps visualize what’s possible within the next 5,10, 20+ years.
Lifespan and aging are malleable. The scientific pathways behind this effect are incredibly complex and difficult to correctly control, but manipulating them may lead to new treatments for age-related diseases.
Who’s in the space? Next edition, I’ll share a robust list of aging companies, commentary on a few, and start exploring the social/ethical considerations.
💡 Big ideas -
Tech capabilities outpace usage. In 2021, our ability to leverage technology responsibly is outpaced by our actual technical capabilities. A few weeks back, I’d learned more about existential risks by listening to Nick Bostrom on Josh Clark’s podcast.
Distinguishing Risks: I found Nick Bostrom’s mental model of distinguishing between existential risks and global, endurable risks helpful. By defining the scope and intensity, we can clearly understand the magnitude of any threat which is important in existential scenarios because ordinary risk management is ineffective.
💥 Spark Moment of the Week
My spark moment of this week was re-meeting Mitch. Mitch serves as a reminder that these spark moments stem from creating and capturing the rich details of our lives.
Last Thursday (6/3/21), I “re-met” a ~50-year-old man named Mitch at the gym.
I knew who he was, but he had no recollection of me.
He asked If I went to Cornell (was wearing a Cornell shirt).
I nodded, and he shared that his wife was a “hotelie” alumni (which I am too).
“… your name is Mitch right?”, I asked.
He stopped in his tracks - he had no recollection of our chat 2 years and 2 days ago
I went back to my workout after our 2-3 minute talk. I knew the only reason I remembered his name was because I’d written it down as my moment of the day…
I dug up my nerdy “Daily Moments” Google Sheets, leveraged the “find and replace” function to find the name “Mitch” and sure enough, there it was:
Spreadsheet entry, 6/2/2019: Met a guy Mitch at gym bc I was wearing Cornell Baseball shirt and his wife was a Hotelie. He gave me 3 pieces of advice… 1) live smartly / be smart financially. No need for that new car. Allowed him to retire at 47 and give freedoms later in life (going on 44 day road trip with his son across country in a week), 2) Prioritize health, and 3) don’t be a “snob”— Mitch reminded me that when people hear Cornell they might to conclusions and assume I’m a snob
I re-approached Mitch after finding this, and asked, “What if I told you we met exactly 2 years and 2 days ago… and you gave me 3 specific pieces of advice?
I wish you could have seen his face, but it looked a bit like this.
Call-to-action: I challenge you to either write down 1 thing in detail about your day today (bonus if you comment below) or watch the Ted Talk on Homework for Life and commit to some way of capturing the rich details of daily events.
🐦 Health Tech Tweet of the week
💬 Someone else’s words
“Mens sana in corpore sano”
This directly translates to “a sound mind in a sound body”, a phrase my grandpa would conclude every single visit or phone call with. He and the Roman poet Juvenal knew an ancient truth, that one’s physical health transcends into mental and intellectual health as they’re all interconnected.
👋 Endnote & Calls to action
Thanks for reading! As always, I welcome any and all feedback and hope to hear from you.
👇🏼 Calls to action
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