Hypoxia is a dangerous condition in which blood oxygen levels fall below 90%. Hypoxic individuals can are vulnerable to brain injuries caused by a disruption of oxygenated blood flow to the brain, and may experience shortness of breath or loss of consciousness. People experiencing hypoxia may not be aware that their oxygenation levels are falling, which is part of what makes the condition so dangerous.
Hypoxia can be experienced by people with pulmonary hypertension, respiratory conditions, and other cardiovascular diseases. Fifty million people in the US and over 10% of the global population are diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension either idiopathically or as a secondary condition stemming from diseases like COPD.
Dangerously low levels of blood oxygenation can also be experienced by high performance athletes, particularly those training or competing at altitude.
OxiWear has developed a wearable device to be used to monitor blood oxygenation in both medical and athletic use cases. Unlike other oxygenation monitoring devices, it’s worn on the ear rather than the fingertip, making OxiWear much more user friendly and functional. The device connects to an app and a dashboard to monitor key health metrics and includes a feature that activates the wearer’s emergency plan if their oxygen level falls below safe thresholds.
OxiWear’s founder, Shavini Fernando, developed the device to meet a personal need to monitor her oxygen levels after being diagnosed with severe pulmonary hypertension due to Eisenmenger’s Syndrome. Shavini experienced multiple situations in which her heart stopped beating because of a sudden drop in oxygen levels, necessitating self-CPR to revive her heart. OxiWear’s device allows Shavini and other hypoxic individuals to get emergency help in time to prevent life-threatening situations.
Halcyon Angels are excited to support this potentially life-saving device that has also found a significant opportunity in the fitness space. In the short term, a nonmedical version of the device will be sold in the athletic market while OxiWear pursues FDA approval.
Halcyon Angels’ investment joins an investment from the Halcyon Fund, as well as the Virginia Innovation Partnership, the Paul and Rose Carter Foundation, Paul Caicedo, Future Communities Capital, Gaingels, Hourglass Venture Partners, TiE, and Tysons Angel Group. Ted Leonsis, majority owner of the Washington Capitals, Washington Wizards, and Washington Mystics, has also invested in OxiWear.