Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Basis Band Starts Shipping to Everyone, as Health-Tracking Company Adds Another $11.75M

If you talk to people who know wearable fitness trackers, they’ll tell you that the Basis band is probably the most serious product available.

Did you think you were really quantifying yourself by counting steps and adding up mysterious units like “NikeFuel”? Not so fast. The Basis band measures heart rate, skin temperature, perspiration and movement, too, and puts a strong focus on its software to try to help users set targets and change their habits.

At $199, it’s pricier, geekier and bulkier than much of the competition — though it does have interchangeable bands for those who care about fashion statements.

The Basis band also has been quite hard to purchase, until now. Previously, would-be buyers had to make reservations that could take months to fulfill.

As of today, Basis will start selling the band to the public on its website. It’s also announcing some strategic investors, who joined a venture capital round from earlier this year. With Intel Capital, iNovia Capital, Dolby Family Trust, Stanford University and Peninsula-KCG adding $11.75 million to funding already provided by Mayfield Fund, DCM and Norwest Venture Partners, the round is now worth $23.25 million.

Plus, Basis hired a VP of product with a mobile focus, Ethan Fassett, who was an EIR at Trinity Ventures as well as an exec at Gree and Playdom.

Basis development began way back in 2005, though the company considers its formal founding date as 2011, when Norwest Venture Partners and Doll Capital Management led a $9.5 million series A round.

Basis likes to cite a report from IHS IMS Research last year that estimated as many as 171 million wearable technology devices will ship in 2016, a very optimistic projection from 14 million shipped in 2011.

What will it take for other smartwatches to get there? Basis CEO Jef Holove thinks that more biosensors are the start.

“I think they’re all too big, and the battery life is all too short in this first generation,” he said in a recent interview.

“But the big issue is, so far, none of them do anything that wasn’t possible with a smartphone. Nothing that you get by wearing it, rather than it being in your pocket. For me, if that’s all we have accomplished, then we have nothing.”

Latest Video

View all videos »

Search »

I’m a giant vat of creative juices.

— David Pogue on why he’s joining Yahoo