The startup of the month:
When digital is at the service of health. There is a plethora of startups that have tackled human behavior issues in the past to improve people’s lives. This Italian nugget goes further: it is called Empatica and intends to revolutionize the neurological research market. Founded in 2011 in Milan by Matteo Lai, Simone Tognetti and Maurizio Garbarino, the Italian startup develops and produces wearable devices for people with epilepsies.
Their meeting at MIT in Boston with Rosalins Picard, a renowned researcher in the field of “affective computing”, marks the destiny of Empatica and the beginning of its success. Empatica now offers Embrace, a smart band that is revolutionizing the monitoring of epilepsy and creating new perspectives in the fight against sudden death linked to this neurological condition. The device was designed to detect an epileptic seizure and alert the medical profession in real time thanks in particular to an ultra-precise GPS system. Its companion app also offers peace of mind for people with epilepsy and caregivers.
Finally, it facilitates patient monitoring for physicians and allows them to download their data remotely. Empatica has already proven itself thanks in particular to the invaluable support of the American network Endeavor. Since the launch of their flagship product, the startup has collected awards in their category (Best new technologies from the Epilepsy Foundation, the Gartner Cool Vendor Award and the Red Dot Design Award). Its launch phase is dazzling: Embrace raises 100,000 dollars in less than 24 hours and quickly raises 5 million dollars from Italian and international institutional investors.
Today she assists more than 10,000 clients in 90 countries around the world. Its future looks bright. In early 2018, the Embrace device was recognized by the American FDA as the first connected watch for neurological use. It is no coincidence that the company chose the term “Empatica”, as the company’s mission is above all to make this technology a social good by improving the daily lives of patients. But Empatica wants to go further: to help monitor and detect the socio-emotional intelligence of people with autism spectrum disorders and stress disorders.
The Italian ecosystem can therefore be proud of having produced and supported a startup with a revolutionary social impact: improving the lifestyle of millions of people around the world with neurological disorders. Empatica will be one of the many Italian startups present at the next Vivatech in Paris (May 24-26, 2018). For the first time, Italy will have its pavilion at the 2018 edition of the new technologies fair. Bodes well for an innovation ecosystem seeking to assert itself.
Philippe Tandeau de Marsac is the development manager of Invitalia Ventures SGR, the French Tech Mentor and member of the French Tech Hub Milan steering committee.