Jawbone Raises More Than $100 Million to Meet Demand for Wearable Tech
Jawbone, the Bay Area-based electronics company that makes colorful Bluetooth speakers and the activity-tracking Up wristband, has raised more than $100 million through debt financing and new equity.
The funding round was first reported by Fortune earlier this morning. AllThingsD has independently confirmed the news.
The company has said it needs cash in the short term to meet demand for its products, as it has “millions of back-orders to fill,” according to the Fortune report.
Its long-term strategy, I’m told, includes the hiring of more data engineers to work on its wearable products.
Jawbone raised over $90 million in debt financing and asset-backed loans from Silver Lake Partners, Fortress Investment Group, J.P. Morgan and Wells Fargo. Previous investors Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins also contributed to a new round of equity said to be at $20 million.
In recent months, Jawbone, which is led by founder and CEO Hosain Rahman, has made at least a few strategic acquisitions in addition to expanding its product line and making key hires. In February, Jawbone bought two mobile-focused health and lifestyle companies, Visere and Massive Health, for an undisclosed amount.
In April, it spent more than $100 million to acquire BodyMedia, a veteran Pittsburgh-based health-tracking company, for both its talent and its patents.
Since then, it has also hired data scientist Monica Rogati as a VP of data and has been looking to hire more data-focused scientists and engineers.
Jawbone’s $130 Up wristband is part of a growing category of devices that are worn on the wrist and other parts of the body to track wearers’ activity levels throughout the day and sync the data to a mobile device. Competitors include Fitbit’s products and the Nike+ FuelBand — and competition may be creeping up from within the mobile phone itself, as sensors inside smartphones get better and more plentiful.
These types of wearables are somewhat nifty, and appeal to consumers interested in the “quantified self” — essentially, the idea that measurement leads to betterment — but they are still very much in the early stages. While the devices track a lot of data, they have yet to offer deep insights or take a prescriptive approach to the wearers’ health and activity levels.
Jawbone hasn’t said how many units of its Up wristband have been sold. Jawbone also has declined to discuss valuation, but an earlier report in The Wall Street Journal — back when the company raised $70 million in a round led by J.P. Morgan Asset Management — valued Jawbone at $1.5 billion.