Several publications, including TechCrunch and Mashable, picked their winners from a wide range of devices from different companies. If there was a common theme, it's that smarter devices offering data-driven personal services are headed our way in the near future.
Below we highlight seven companies that could play a significant role in the personal smart-tech space. We also call out the investors who are betting big on them.
1. Plume Labs
Founded in Paris in 2014, Plume Labs impressed crowds with FLOW, its connected wearable air-quality monitor. The idea is simple: By tracking toxic particles in the air, Plume warns consumers in polluted cities — in China, for example — when it's dangerous to be outside. Tailored alerts can also tell users when it's best to get out. FLOW users can share clean air maps of the cities where they live with the global community. Each new entry increases the long-term value of the product.
Who's investing: Local investors have provided most of Plume's financial momentum, including an initial $4.5 million round of funding completed in December. Agoranov, a Paris-based incubator, and Bpifrance, a local investment bank, led the way with additional contributions from the European Commission and angel investor Dr. Laurent Alexandre, according to PitchBook.
2. Milo Sensors
Milo Sensors scored one of the most lauded products of CES 2017 with its PROOF alcohol-sensing wristband. The idea is simple: Make it easy to track blood-alcohol levels and you'll have fewer drunk drivers on the road. In a poll conducted by The Telegraph, which covered the device's unveiling, 88 percent of respondents said that having this sort of device is a "good idea."
Who's investing: While Milo Sensors has yet to disclose how much venture financing it raised from a round completed on June 1, Tech Coast Angels was involved, according to Crunchbase. That alone should say something; the 20-year-old band of individual investors has enjoyed 49 exits on investments in 344 companies, including IPOs for TrueCar and Green Dot.
Unobtrusive yet highly functional, Motiv's activity and sleep tracking ring scored an official CES Innovation Award. Available in two colors and seven sizes, the waterproof ring is designed to be worn as any other piece of jewelry, working in the background for up to five days without a battery charge. A connected app reveals progress in on-screen cards.
Who's investing: Clearly, investors like the story as much as the CES crowd did. Motiv has raised $20.66 million of debt and venture financing over five financing rounds since its founding four years ago. Six different investors have contributed in that time, including the legendary VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Cherry Tree Investments and Granite Ventures have been involved since Motiv's seed round in March 2014.
4. Osterhout Design Group
Named by Fast Company's as one of the world's most innovative enterprises, Osterhout Design Group (ODG) turned heads with its R-8 and R-9 glasses for augmented and virtual reality. Slash Gear and The Wall Street Journal named them in their respective "Best of CES" lists, and TechCrunch included the products in its rundown of the 10 coolest gadgets from CES 2017. Pricing is expected to begin at $1,799 per pair when ODG begins selling them to consumers in the second quarter, TechCrunch reports.
Who's investing: While 18-year-old ODG isn't a young company, its recent foray into augmented and virtual reality specs attracted a whopping $58 million in investment from three big institutions, including 21st Century Fox, which led the round. Others include Shenzhen O-film Technology and Vanfund Urban Investment & Development.
Founded in 2005, the maker of gaming accessories has netted "Best of CES" awards for seven years running — a record, Razer claims in a press release. Razer's virtual reality projector, Project Arianna, helped the company claim a "Best of CES" honor this year. According to Razer, this new technology "takes environmental information from within a videogame and intelligently projects it around a room, virtually engulfing a player in real-time action previously reserved for on-screen entertainment only." Immersive gaming has been a CES staple for years. For example, at CES 2014, reaction to the Oculus Rift VR headset helped cement Facebook's $2 billion acquisition of Oculus just two months later.
Who's investing: More than any other company on this list, Razer's gaming tech business has drawn interest from four of the venture capital industry's biggest players: Accel Partners, Intel Capital, IDG Capital Partners and Chinese mobile tech provider LianLuo. These four companies have contributed a combined total of $125 million in financing since the company's first venture round in 2011.
When television networks won a court battle over the right to control how their over-air content is distributed, effectively killing upstart Aereo, hopes for a disruptive alternative faded for some. But not at Mohu. Founded in 2011, three years before Aereo's demise, Mohu has developed an antenna technology (based on earlier designs for the U.S. military) that can bring over-the-air HD broadcasts to any television. Mohu claims to have saved cord cutters over $300 million as a result.
Who's investing: While Mohu has yet to secure any investment, a long list of CES accolades may foreshadow future backing from corporate and traditional VC firms.
Even though it has yet to launch, Willow's wearable breast pump seems to have garnered the most acclaim of all at CES 2017. From Engadget to CNN, The Verge, CNET, The Wall Street Journal and more, Willow's hands-free gadget gained praise for allowing busy moms to multi-task while also gathering milk for breast feeding. Willow's first pumps are set to go on sale in the spring at a suggested retail price of $429.
Who's investing: No one that we know of—yet. But if initial demand for the products is anything like the enthusiasm surrounding it at CES, Willow won't need additional investment backing.
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