Japanese firm invests in New Zealand wearables sensor company
July 26, 2016
StretchSense, a wearables sensor company based in Auckland, New Zealand, has secured Series A funding from Japanese corporation Start Today.
Start Today owns Zozotown, which claims to be Japan’s largest online retailer of apparel and accessories, and wear.jp, a fashion coordination app.
StretchSense is a manufacturer of soft stretchy sensors and generators for wearables. The company’s products are ultra-soft and precise, making them suitable for sporting, AR, VR, animation and healthcare applications. It sells to more than 200 customers in 28 countries.
The company is a spinout from the Auckland Bioengineering Institute’s Biomimetics Lab, and has previously raised funds from the Flying Kiwi Angels and the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund.
“We are very excited to be working with Start Today as we enter this new phase of growth,” said StretchSense CEO Ben O’Brien. “Start Today’s access to the Japanese market as well as deep expertise in fashion, distribution and e-commerce makes them a perfect strategic investor for StretchSense.”
StretchSense will use the funds to upgrade its pilot production and R&D capabilities in New Zealand, and to expand its marketing, sales and support capability offshore.
Ultimately StretchSense has the goal of developing unobtrusive self-powered sensors for wearables that scavenge energy from their environment.