Sense Sleep Tracker maker Hello prepares to close up shop

Hello, the outfit behind Sense Sleep Tracker, is preparing to shut down.

First reported by Axios, the company recently held discussions to sell its assets to Fitbit, but the deal did not go through. Hello has reportedly laid off most of its 50+ staff and is looking for a buyer. The company had earlier raised more than $40 million in venture funding from Temasek and was valued at close to $300 million in a financing round in 2015.

“It’s with a heavy heart that I share with you the news that Hello will soon be shutting down,” James Proud, founder and CEO of Hello wrote in a blog post.

“The past few weeks we have been working hard to find the right home for Sense and we are still focused on that. There will be lots of questions to which I don’t currently have the answers. As soon as I know, I will update everyone. I am sorry for not being able to answer every question immediately, but I will endeavor to do so as fast as possible.”

Sense Sleep Tracker, best sleep trackersSense is a unique sleep device which originally raised $2.4 million through a Kickstarter campaign back in 2014. It seemed like things were looking up when the company released a second generation device last year.

While the original Sense tracks temperature, light, air quality, humidity and noise, the second generation version keeps tabs on UV light, carbon dioxide, volatile organic compounds, light temperature and barometric pressure. There are also voice controls now, that allow you to find out how well you slept, set your Smart Alarm, play Sleep Sounds, and more just by talking to the tracker.

Essential reading: Ten gadgets for advanced sleep monitoring

The sleep pill recognises your sleep through your movement during the night. You only need to keep it clipped to your pillow. The sleep timeline shows you a detailed analysis of sleep cycles and helps you see how even minor interruptions to your sleep can affect the quality of your rest. Each morning, you receive a personalized Sleep Score – based on the conditions of your bedroom, and how well you slept the night before.

Sense Sleep Tracker is one of the more popular sleep gadgets around, so its unclear what exactly happened and why Hello is shutting down. Whereas the fitness tracker and smartwatch market has no shortage of devices, the sleep tracking niche is not as crowded. 

“Kickstarter can give you a good basis to get your product off the ground and an awful lot of PR, but translating that into a successful commercial product is difficult,” said Ben Wood, from the CCS Insight tech consultancy.

“Going to the next level, finding more funding and getting backing – or a takeover offer – from a big company is often the lifeline that these companies need to keep going.”

Perhaps its to do with manufacturing difficulties or struggles in competing against the big brands. Whatever the case we will report back when we hear more.

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