Sano Raises $10 Million Seed Round To Continue Work On Its Non-invasive Glucose Meter


San Francisco-based wearables startup Sano Intelligence has raised a $10 million seed round led by True Ventures and Intel Capital. The oversubscribed round also included investments from First Round, Felicis Ventures, Elevation Capital, Floodgate, and Rock Health. Sano graduated from Rock Health’s second class in Summer 2012 and went on to raise a $3.8 million seed round in January 2013. Since its launch, Sano has raised a total of $10.3 million.

Founded in December 2011, Sano has been working on a wearable that it hopes will be able to non-invasively monitor glucose in real time. Currently, diabetics have to measure their blood glucose several times a day, requiring painful finger pricks to draw a blood sample. This onerous requirement leads to non-adherence problems and high rates of complications in diabetic populations. As a result, non-invasive glucose monitoring has become somewhat of a holy grail pursuit in the wearables market. Pharmaceutical companies have thrown millions at R&D efforts to no avail. Apple was rumored to be working on its own solution for the Apple Watch after poaching key engineers from Sano and others working on similar technologies, but glucose monitoring was notably absent from Apple’s final Watch design. The first to crack non-invasive glucose monitoring was rival Google, which patented and licensed contact lenses with sensors that continuously measure glucose levels in tears.

Sano has been understandably quiet about the technology that powers its tracker. However, the company does have a patent that sheds some light on the technologies it is working with. According to its patent, Sano has created a transdermal patch made up of thousands of microscopic barbs that painlessly penetrate the skin and sample a variety of metabolic measurements. While the company has been rumored to be building a wearable that will eventually be able to measure dozens of health metrics, its first product will focus on glucose monitoring. The company’s patent reads, “In one specific example for blood chemistry analysis, the array of filaments … is configured to sense at least one of electrolytes, glucose, bicarbonate, creatinine, blood urea nitrogen, sodium, and potassium of a user’s body chemistry. In another specific example, the array of filaments … is configured to sense at least one of biomarkers, cell count, hormone levels, alcohol content, gases, drug concentrations/metabolism, pH and analytes within a user’s body fluid.”

Sano is expected to launch its flagship product next year and will use the new funding to grow from its current team of 20 to meet its anticipated demand.

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