Company developed smartphone app to monitor users’ physiological signals
Google confirmed in late October its acquisition of Sound Life Sciences (SLS), a UW CoMotion spinoff and 2020 graduate of CoMotion Labs, reports Geekwire. This news comes just as Pitchbook has released its ranking of top universities based on startup founders; the University of Washington (UW) ranked 21st out of 100, and 10th among the ranked public universities where graduates go on to found venture capital-backed startups.
Shyam Gollakota, the startup’s CEO and a UW Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering professor, founded SLS in 2018 with CMO Jake Sunshine, a UW Medicine associate professor of anesthesiology and pain medicine. The team developed a commercial app that uses smart devices and sonar to detect changes in users’ physiological signals. The company received FDA clearance in December 2021 for its first product and was at work on a second. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Our goal has always been to transform everyday smart devices into tools that could positively impact people’s health,” says Sunshine, who works on remote respiratory sensing with a focus on public health applications. “You can’t do this without a team. SLS has been extremely fortunate to have had support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), UW CoMotion, and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). This of course extends to our amazing SLS team who worked tirelessly to build an FDA-cleared product, which is not easy.”
Sunshine says the SLS team benefited from its membership at CoMotion Labs‘ tech incubator at Startup Hall, and from CoMotion’s expert guidance on federal grant funding for startups, patent applications, and a license agreement. He encourages all UW researchers, wherever they are in the commercialization process, to work with CoMotion and take advantage of its resources.
At the time of its FDA approval, the technology was backed by more than $2.5 million in funding from friends and family, NIH, and BARDA, according to Fierce Biotech.
“It is really exciting to see this happen,” Gollakota says. “It will transform our ability to reach more people and have far greater impact, and it contributes to the growing tech innovation ecosystem in Seattle.”