Valencell, a Raleigh startup that develops technology for use in wearable fitness devices, has raised $7 million and named Michael Dering as its new CEO.
Dering, a member of the company’s board, previously was CEO of a number of public companies and private equity-back companies, including ServiceBench and CrossAccess Corp.
Valencell’s latest round of funding came from new investor WSJ Joshua Fund and existing investors TDF Ventures, True Ventures and Best Buy Capital. Since 2006, Valencell has raised more than $13 million in venture capital.
Valencell’s patented PerformTek Precision Biometrics technology enables wearers of headsets, armbands and other devices to accurately monitor key health data such as heart rate, respiratory rate, blood oxygen level and aerobic fitness wherever they go.
The company is benefiting from an explosion in interest in wearable technology.
Valencell is now working with more than 40 companies to incorporate its technology into various products, including LG Electronics, Blaupunkt Personal Audio and Intel. Iriver launched PerformTek-powered earbuds in the U.S. in October, and Scosche Industries announced a deal to use Valencell's technology in November.
Dering said four to six new products that use Valencell’s technology are expected to come on the market this year.
“That’s one of the reasons for the fundraising, is to help scale the company from a sales and marketing perspective along with R&D and product development,” Dering said. “The pipeline of activity has grown exponentially over the last year with the new prospects and customers.”
Valencell has about 20 employees, and Dering said it expects to hire a half-dozen more people in the near-term. The company hopes to use its funding to both strengthen its relationship with its customers and make the company better known among both device makers and app developers.
“We’re trying to raise the profile of Valencell in the ecosystem so that we can have some influence on it,” Dering said.