OxiWear Nets $1.25M for Final Steps for Oxygen Monitoring Device

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by Patricia Inacio, PhD |

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OxiWear has raised $1.25 million in funding to support the final steps in the commercialization of its ear-wearable device, designed to continuously monitor blood oxygen levels in people with pulmonary hypertension (PH).

The funding round, initially with a target of $750,000, was well “oversubscribed,” the company reported in a press release.

The device, also called OxiWear, attaches to the ear and can be worn 24 hours per day to measure oxygen saturation levels, called SPO2, and to detect when they begin to drop.

It is expected to be released into the market by mid-2022, the company said.

OxiWear is now involved in pre-submission meetings with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to apply for a medical device designation.

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According to the company, the OxiWear device also is suitable for performance athletes, high-altitude travelers, and patients with medical conditions linked with a risk of low oxygen levels without visible symptoms, including COVID-19 and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Users enable the device to monitor blood oxygen levels on a mobile application, which produces a warning vibration if those levels drop below the user-defined safe threshold.

In the case of severe drops, a 911 call can be made by clicking a button and sending text alerts to emergency contacts. OxiWear helps seek immediate assistance.

“OxiWear is a product that I developed to help patients like me — those living with pulmonary hypertension,” said Shavini Fernando, founder and CEO of OxiWear. Fernando is a VR/video game and web designer who developed PH due to Eisenmenger’s syndrome, which is caused by structural problems of the heart.

The funding round was led by GAP Funds, an investment program of the Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation (VIPC), previously known as the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT). VIPC had already invested in OxiWear in June.

“OxiWear is a game changer for those affected by the complications of pulmonary hypertension, and could be the difference between safety and danger,” said Tom Weithman, managing director of GAP Funds.

Ted Leonsis and the Paul & Rose Carter Foundation, previous supporters, also participated in the pre-seed round, along with new investors Paul Caicedo, Future Communities Capital, Gaingels, Halcyon Fund, Hourglass Venture Partners, TiE DC and Boston Chapters, and Tysons Angel Group.

“I’ve been a proud, early supporter of Shavini and her life-saving work and I congratulate her on not only meeting her pre-seed funding round target — but decisively beating it,” said Leonsis, a global businessman in technology, sports, and entertainment.

“It’s a testament to how in-demand her product is,” he said.

OxiWear is one of the selected startups to join the leAD Sports & Health Tech accelerator program.