HabitAware Raises $510K, Pushes Product Launch Back To March

The local startup created a device used to make people aware of and stop their nervous habits, like nail biting.

HabitAware Raises $510K, Pushes Product Launch Back To March
HabitAware Inc., a Minneapolis-based startup that created Keen, a wrist-worn device designed to stop nervous ticks like nail biting and skin picking, announced the closure of a funding round on Monday.
Of the company’s $550,000 goal, it managed to raise $510,000 from 16 investors.
HabitAware CEO Sameer Kumar told TCB the money was actually raised last year and came from a mix of local angel investors, remote friends and family, and SOSV, which is the venture capital arm that supports HAX, a startup accelerator program based in Shenzhen, China. HabitAware graduated from HAX last year.
Kumar said the funds would go toward “all essential activities including improvements, production and marketing” of its flagship product Keen, which was slated for a late January distribution to those who pre-ordered the device.
The send-out date, however, has been pushed back to March, according to Kumar.
“When we got our latest pre-production samples [from our manufacturer in China] we wanted to change a few small, but important things,” he said, referencing minor dissatisfactions with the way the plastics that housed the device’s electronics were finished and fit.
“The changes pushed us past the deadline,” Kumar noted, “so unfortunately we have to wait for Chinese New Year to pass before production can finish.”
Local startup HidrateMe, creators of a “smart” water bottle that tracks and encourages regular water consumption, ran into a similar issue last year when its products were being manufactured in China. “We produced 17,000 bottles between December 2015 and April 2016,” HidrateMe founder Nadya Nguyen told the Star Tribune. “We learned that right in the middle of that period, there was Chinese New Year. People take off the entire month of February.”
Despite the delay of HabitAware’s device, Kumar is confident the changes made will make a difference to their customers — primarily people with body-focused repetitive behaviors, as well as the practitioners who treat those conditions.
“Although we are disappointed [about the delay], it’s important that we ship a high quality product and our customers have a good experience,” Kumar said. “We are confident in the March timeline.”
For more on the founding of HabitAware and how the company created its nervous habit-treating device, read the story from our February issue.
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