Valencell Raises $11M to Support Wearable Tech R&D

Biometric sensor company Valencell has closed on $11 million in new funding to support the company’s global expansion into more wearable technology products.

The Raleigh, NC-based company’s Series D round was led by GII Tech, a new venture fund launched by the United Arab Emirates-based Gulf Islamic Investments. Previous investors TDF Ventures and WSJ Joshua Fund also participated in the financing. To date, Valencell says it has raised $24.5 million total.

Valencell doesn’t make any wearable products. The company’s PerformTek sensors, which can capture vital signs such as respiration and heart rate, are small enough to fit inside earbuds, armbands, and other wearable products. Valencell licenses this technology to consumer electronics makers who incorporate it into their own devices. Valencell made headlines in January when it sued both Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Fitbit (NYSE: FIT) for patent infringement, claiming those companies used Valencell’s technology without a license.

Michael Dering, Valencell’s CEO, said in a prepared statement that the new capital will support research and development, as well as business development.

Research firm IDC calculates that 2015 shipments of wearable products increased 171.6 percent compared with 2014, due to growing interest in the products from both vendors and consumers. Valencell says its technology is being used by more than 25 licensees around the world.

Frank Vinluan is an Xconomy editor based in Research Triangle Park. You can reach him at Follow @frankvinluan

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