South Korean health tech startup Sky Labs has raised 20.7 billion won ($15.3 million) in a Series C funding round led by the government-run Korea Development Bank.
K2 Investment Partners, Devsisters Ventures, SJG Partners, and OpenWater Investment also joined the investing round.
This brings its total investment to 54.8 billion won ($40.5 million). It last raised $20 million in a Series B round in 2021.
The company is known for its AI-powered ring-type blood pressure monitor called CART-I BP. It measures blood pressure by tracking PPG signals on the wearer’s finger. The smart ring is capable of continuous BP monitoring, which supports personalised treatment, medication dose adjustment, and overall management of conditions of patients living with hypertension.
The first iteration of the CART-I monitors atrial fibrillation using both PPG and ECG signals. Additional capabilities, such as measuring oxygen saturation and blood pressure, came in later.
WHAT IT’S FOR
In a statement, Sky Labs said it will be using its new funds to conduct clinical research that satisfies the requirements of hypertension societies and regulators for market approval. It will also be used to expedite its acquisition of market licenses and marketing and distribution partnerships.
WHY IT MATTERS
Despite the broader health technology market experiencing a dry spell in investment, the startup was able to secure over $10 million in funding – the largest funding raised by any health tech company in South Korea so far this year. The company attributes this to the market’s expectation for its pioneering cuffless continuous BP monitoring device, which is a space of its own in the medical device market.
“Sky Labs has successfully developed a wearable device for 24/7 continuous BP monitoring – a capability previously [not seen] in existing BP monitors,” Lee Seung-Woo, director of Devsister Ventures, a new investor of Sky Labs, also noted.
THE LARGER TREND
This October, Sky Labs, through its exclusive distribution partner Daewoong Pharmaceutical, began deploying the CART-I BP across hospitals and clinics in South Korea. The device is set to become available for online sale afterwards, the company disclosed. In the next three years, it targets to rake as much as 70 billion won ($52 million) in CART-I BP sales in South Korea alone.
Moreover, Sky Labs aims to further expand the distribution of its ring-type BP monitor to the United States and other European markets starting next year following recent regulatory approvals. It also secured clearance from the South Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety for the BP monitoring feature on its device earlier in March.