WiseWear Raises $2.5 Million Seed Round
Wearable Tech Startup Closes Seed Round to Bring Luxury Smart Jewelry Line to the Market for Women
SAN ANTONIO, September 16, 2015 (Newswire.com) - WiseWear®, a fashion-tech company that recently launched their first line of luxury smart jewelry for women, announced Monday morning that they have raised $2.5 million in seed funding led by medical device entrepreneur and cardiologist Dr. Edward Leahey.
This seed funding will support production and mass manufacturing to fulfill pre-orders for the Socialite Collection, which will hit shelves this November. The Socialite is a smart bracelet, disguised as fine jewelry, with advanced features such as vibrating mobile notifications, distress messaging, and activity tracking.
The concept of Socialite was imagined by Dr. Gerald “Jerry” Wilmink, who worked as a research program manager for the U.S. Department of Defense. After his grandfather passed away in 2011 due to a fatal fall, he became motivated to create a wearable device that would allow users to alert their loved ones in times of potential danger. With a background in biomedical engineering and entrepreneurship, Wilmink brought Socialite to life in just short of three years, starting from his San Antonio garage.
“We wanted to create an innovative wearable that fused the best of both worlds - technology and style,” said Dr. Wilmink. “Function and fashion are both equally important to WiseWear. After all, wearable technology is only useful if people actually wear it.”
Over the past few years, Wilmink has recruited top engineers from Caltech, Vanderbilt, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, and the University of Texas whose backgrounds include biomedical engineering, electrical engineering, and applied physics. Together, they created a patented technology that allows them use the metal of the jewelry as the device’s antenna, going beyond the standard plastic approach to wearable tech.
WiseWear then teamed up with lead designers, who have consulted for reputable brands such as Coach, Swatch, Rachel Zoe, and Alexis Bittar, to conceal their breakthrough technology in truly wearable jewelry pieces.
“Our goal was to create a wearable that empowers women to feel their absolute best on the inside and out, without sacrificing style,” said Jason Wilson, chief operating officer. “Our team has dedicated endless hours to achieve this objective, knowing that the beauty of our technology could only be packaged into a beautiful accessory.”
WiseWear plans to continue collaborations with top fashion brands and designers to offer more styles, as well as upcoming product lines that will appeal to both men and women.
Socialite currently comes in three different styles, including the Calder, the Duchess, and the Kingston. Each design has the option of being plated in either gold or rhodium. The brass material enables Socialite to be water-resistant, antimicrobial, hypoallergenic, and more durable than current plastic wearable devices offered in the market. The average battery life lasts for three days, based on normal usage.
Socialite syncs with iOS or Android mobile devices via Bluetooth LE to provide users with vibrating mobile notifications for incoming calls, texts, emails, alarms, and calendar updates. It also tracks the user’s activity, recording step count, distance travel, time active/inactive, and calories burned. Users can manage their list of contacts, touch patterns, vibration patterns, and notifications on the accompanying mobile app, which can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
The advanced safety feature allows users to send a discreet text message to their pre- approved list of contacts in an urgent situation, with the option to send their geolocation and sound/video recording of their surroundings. Wilmink hopes that this feature will “allow women to feel confident all day long, whether it’s on a morning run at 6 a.m., or walking through an empty parking garage at midnight.”
The company, which was recently featured in Shape Magazine and Wall Street Journal, will showcase their collection at the Luxury Technology Show in Los Angeles and CES 2016, where they will unveil their latest product line.
The Socialite Collection is now available for pre-order, with each bracelet exclusively priced at $299.95, on www.wisewear.com. Once the collection is officially released in November, prices will be listed at regular MSRP of $395.00. Orders are expected to ship in November 2015.