It looks like Fitbit, known for its fitness-based wearable devices, is making a huge step that could be of value to its diabetic customer base.
The company recently invested over $6 million in San Francisco-based startup company Sano, as reported by CNBC. The startup is said to be working on a patch that would allow users to continuously monitor their glucose levels in a minimally invasive way.
Fitbit did not confirm, however, whether a built-in glucose monitoring feature would be included in their future wearables.
Investing For Health
This is Fitbit's first-ever investment made. CEO James Park told CNBC that the move is definitely in the direction their company wants to go. Beyond the device, he said it is more about finding and providing health solutions to their customers.
"I think the complete solution comes in the form of having some monitoring solution that is coupled with a display, and a wearable that can give you the interventions at the right moment," he added.
Coming up with a combined technology from both Fitbit and Sano would not only help address diabetes among millions of Americans living with the condition, but also significantly increase the market for Fitbit devices.
The company could use such boost as it has suffered declining sales. Fitbit only sold 3.6 million devices in the quarter ending Sept. 30 last year, compared to its 5.3 million sales recorded in the previous year.
Investing In Sano
Founded in 2011, Sano has dedicated itself to finding other ways to track glucose levels. The startup has been working on a unit that is described as "minimally invasive" and that would continuously monitor blood sugar over time.
However, this device would require pricking using tiny needles to obtain an accurate reading. Although it is not non-invasive, which Apple is reportedly working on for its own version, Sano believes their device is less painful than the other current options on the market.
The investment is not Fitbit's first attempt at bringing continuous glucose-monitoring to its wearable devices. Back in September 2017, the company announced it was partnering with Dexcom to bring this feature to the Ionic smartwatch, according to a report from The Verge.
Fitbit and Sano are also not the only parties interested in continuous glucose monitoring. Alphabet is said to be working on a miniature continuous glucose tracker, while Apple is looking to find a needle-less approach.