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Biotech start-up with local roots receives funding boost

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Cape Town-based venture capitalist fund OneBio has backed home-grown biotech start-up LifeQ, becoming one of the investors from around the world to invest in the business.

A provider of biometrics and health information derived from wearable devices, LifeQ has raised $47 million (R646 million) in Series A funding.

In addition to OneBio, other funding investors include Invenfin, 4Di Capital, Allen & Co, Analog Devices, Convergence Partners, Hannover Re, Nedbank and Rachel Diamond.

Michael Fichardt, CEO and co-founder of OneBio, expressed excitement about investing in LifeQ, especially during this time when the wearables market and personalised health data are reaching critical inflection points.

“We see massive potential in the technology LifeQ has built and are proud to partner with a global business with strong South African roots.”

Founded in Stellenbosch in the Western Cape, LifeQ now has offices in the US and the Netherlands, and counts Samsung, Fossil, Montblanc and Motorola Mobility among its clients.

The company’s firmware − permanent software programmed into a hardware device − can provide early warning and detection by tracking factors like sleep patterns, heart rate and exercise routines. If something is amiss, the technology sends out an alert.

According to LifeQ, it uses the data collected to generate health and wellness solutions for consumer, business and clinical applications.

CEO Laurence Olivier indicates that much of the capital from the Series A round will be used to help hospitals and physicians develop remote monitoring, in addition to the consumer-device monitoring LifeQ currently provides.

“We are delighted to have OneBio as an investor in LifeQ,” says Olivier. “The capital from OneBio and other investors in this round will help expand our working capacity and drive higher reach, growth and profitability. The LifeQ team are excited to scale our offering to help consumers, companies and people all over the world to uncover health risks and create healthier lives.”

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