Misfit raises $40M from Xiaomi and JD.com
Maker of the PixelHealth favourite Shine and Flash, Misfit, has raised $40m from JD.com and Xiaomi. The China-based eCommerce and smartphone businesses (respectively) are the headline names, but other investors in the round include GVV Capital and Shunwei – as well as existing investors Founders Fund, Khosla Ventures, Horizons Ventures and Norwest Venture Partners – taking the total the company has raised to $63.6m to date.
The latest round of funding is hoped to help Misfit better understand the Chinese market and help it to launch new products to market quickly. According to comments from Misfit co-founder and CEO, Sonny Vu, the targeting of China as a key market is down to their leading the other big wearable brands in the country (Fitbit and Jawbone), while they continue to trail them in other major markets like the US.
Vu said, “You see a lot of Western brands coming to places like China and using the same formula that they have in the West. You can’t walk in with your arms folded. There’s a lot of misunderstandings or not great ways of approaching it…you need to come in humbly, listening, and learn from the best.”
In terms of the future, Vu has said Misfit is developing three product categories: activity trackers like its Shine and Flash, smart home products (the next “big push” according to Vu) and, finally, more advanced wearable devices that go beyond activity tracking. Misfit plans to offer more of all three and its forthcoming line of advanced wearables will likely include devices that have no tie-in to fitness or health. The advanced wearables group will also feature more medically-focused devices that will probably require FDA clearances.
According to Vu, wearables need to get beyond use cases that focus on a sensor’s capability: “Sensing is interesting but I think at some point people want you to ‘do’ stuff for them. We’re looking to go beyond just sensing…I think wearables and smart home products can actually ‘do things’. Stay tuned for that.”