Digital health startup Epicore Biosystems, makers of noninvasive biowearables, secured $10M in an oversubscribed Series A round.
Its microfluidic (aka sweat-analyzing) patch is capable of measuring hydration, stress, and blood glucose levels — attracting a range of industries where performance is everything.
A Performance Patch
In partnership with PepsiCo’s Gatorade, the company’s Gx Sweat Patch launched in March 2021. The small, sensor-packed sticker is applied to an exerciser’s forearm, providing real-time hydration recommendations via a smartphone app for optimal athletic performance and refueling — a focus area for the beverage market at large.
Its FDA-approved Discovery Patch System goes a step further, reading biomarkers in sweat to reveal personalized insights on stress and glucose levels, in addition to hydration needs. Now, this ability to monitor and manage performance is gaining steam beyond athletics.
This latest funding round saw participation from Alumni Ventures, Joyance Partners, and, notably, Chevron Technology Ventures, who wrapped up a field study for monitoring heat stress in oilfield workers this past May.
Early adopters also include the US Air Force, US Army, and National Institutes of Health, signaling broad applicability in human performance.
Sweat is Data
The next generation of health wearables is upon us, taking all sorts of form factors — rings, contact lenses, apparel, and a rapid development of skin patches. With experts predicting the market for electronic patches to reach $18B by 2027, developers in sweat tech are emerging:
- Both UCSD and Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology are developing patches that continuously track blood pressure and heart rate while monitoring glucose, caffeine, and alcohol levels.
- In November 2021, Biolinq secured $100M for its glucose-monitoring skin patch.
- FLOWBIO, creators of a biowearable patch that detects electrolyte and fluid loss in real time, is launching a closed beta in 2022.
In a Q&A with Fitt Insider, FLOWBIO co-founder Stefan van der Fluit suggests that “sweat is data,” unlocking possibilities in endurance sports and beyond:
“We chose sweat as our bodily fluid of choice as sweat glands are nature’s ‘built-in’ needle — and sweat, in layman’s terms, can be seen as a heavily diluted proxy of blood.”
Punchline: Starting with pro athletes and the military, Epicore is proving its efficacy for the everyday wearer. As sweat tech improves, the use cases will only multiply. From diabetes care to hydration to metabolic health, the future of wearables is trending toward invisible sensors.