The World’s Next Great Digital Health Company; Our Continued Investment in ŌURA
I first came across ŌURA in early 2019. I have to give credit to my husband, who as a neurosurgeon, was working with a personal trainer to address his own health challenges—back pain from years of standing over operating tables, terrible sleep habits engrained from erratic schedules being on-call, and a non-existent exercise routine given perpetual exhaustion. The first thing his trainer said he had to address was his poor sleep. How can the body be expected to perform, if it hasn’t had a chance to recover? The lightbulb went off for both of us, and so began our obsession with the ŌURA Ring and our quest for a great night’s sleep.
As any venture investor would do, I looked up ŌURA’s company information first thing after buying my Gen 2 Ring. While the company was founded in Finland, it turned out they were expanding to the U.S., and the timing was right to bring on U.S.-based investors. As part of my diligence process, I spoke to Dr. Ashley Mason, research faculty at UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Health, to understand how she was leveraging the ŌURA Ring in her research. She explained the power of ŌURA’s biometric data to track and understand everything from sleep quality, stress levels, body recovery, illness detection through body temperature variations, and even my own hormonal cycles.
Armed with this information and my new ŌURA Ring, I wanted to put my learnings to the test. My husband and I were just beginning to consider having a second child, so I tracked my own data for a couple weeks to monitor my cycle and estimate when I was most likely to become pregnant based on the trends that Dr. Mason highlighted. Shockingly, it worked like a charm. Not only did ŌURA accurately predict my ovulation window, it also revealed a step-change in my body temperature indicating pregnancy—which I confirmed several weeks later with a pregnancy test. ŌURA was able to tell me within days that I had conceived.
ŌURA hadn’t even started formalizing their women’s health features yet (which they recently launched with the new Gen 3 ring), but it was impossible to ignore all the potential ways this digital tool could completely change how a person proactively manages their health. With this vision in mind, Forerunner led the company’s Series B in December 2019 (and has invested in every round thereafter), and I’ve been honored to serve as Chairperson of the Board since then. All the while, I have remained obsessed with the product, delighted by each new feature and function, and inspired by the clear vision for ŌURA to become the next great digital health platform.
This week, ŌURA announced that the incredible growth and trajectory of the company has enabled them to secure new financing at an impressive $2.55 billion valuation, to further investment into team, R&D, science and research, as well as new features for our member community.
This best-in-class wearable meets the consumer where we are going. The global wellness market represents $1.5T, and is only projected to grow in the years ahead–especially post-pandemic, when many of us decided to up-level our health habits. Wearables in particular had a record-shattering year in 2021, with over 533M devices shipped worldwide, and adoption increasing steadily over the past five years.
Today, a quarter of U.S. adults sport a wearable—but the benefit of ŌURA Ring is that it doesn’t feel like one. I have tried nearly every wearable on the market over the past decade in my efforts to understand and improve my health. My two biggest personal gripes to date? Poor battery life and even poorer style. The litany of wristband formats have been uninspiring at best, and the Apple Watch battery can barely make it through the day, much less through the night. (Plus, who can sleep well with bulky tech strapped to their wrist?)
I immediately loved the seamless nature of ŌURA Ring, which I wear 24/7 and often forget I have on. While ŌURA is one of the most accurate wearable devices on the market (99% heart rate and 92% body temperature correlation to clinical standards), the reality is, the ring's comfortable form factor and week-long battery life has enabled me to fully integrate the health platform into my routine, and thus drive the best data and insights that actually change my behavior for the better.
Wearing my ŌURA Ring has shifted my wellness regimen from reactive to proactive. I check my Readiness Score every morning to understand when I can push and when I need to take it easy. I consider my Sleep Score and stats to make sure I am getting enough consistent rest. I track my activity throughout the day. I note spikes in my body temperature in case I might be getting sick—a metric that was even more important during the Covid-19 pandemic.
I’m not the only one to experience ŌURA’s impact. The company recently announced 1M rings sold. Of all the companies we have invested in at Forerunner, ŌURA members are some of the most passionate about this technology and its personal health impact. It’s been a thrill to watch everyone from Techies, Olympic athletes, F1 drivers, NFL players, British royalty, and even A-list stars like Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Kim Kardashian become obsessed with their sleep and health data. This is only the beginning.
In the coming months, ŌURA will launch workout heart rate monitoring, an enhanced sleep-staging algorithm and blood oxygen sensing. In addition, ŌURA has invested in women's and reproductive health—capabilities that turned me into a believer from the earliest days—through key research and features like Period Prediction.
Amidst the backdrop of a pandemic, the past few years have been a turning point for how we view and manage our health. We have all come to realize that health should never be taken for granted. Combining advancements in wearables, telemedicine, and wellness with a best-in-class product experience, ŌURA is well-positioned to become the go-to health platform for the modern consumer in the coming decade.