Diabetic Smart Sock Startup Siren Raises $3.4M in Seed Funding
Amputations resulting from diabetic ulcers and infections are one of the most serious complications of diabetes, costing the U.S. healthcare system an estimated $17 billion and resulting in over 100,000 leg amputations each year. San Francisco-based startup Siren is hoping to mitigate the effect of diabetic ulcers using smart socks with embedded sensors to track users’ foot temperature and alert patients to the risk of complications.
“That [the cost of diabetic amputations] is more expensive than any form of cancer. It’s the most costly and deadly complication of diabetes,” Ran Ma, founder and CEO of Siren, told VatorNews. Siren is a health technology company and the maker of Neurofabric which it calls “machine-washable, machine-dryable smart textiles that don’t need to be charged.”
On Wednesday, the company launched its first product, Siren Diabetic Socks, which are designed to help people with diabetes avoid amputations, while at the same time announcing that it raised a $3.4 million round of seed funding.
In addition to monitoring foot injuries that are at risk of becoming infected, the socks can also alert patients to recent injuries, which is important because many patients with diabetes develop neuropathy and lose sensation in their extremities, making it difficult to detect new injuries.
Founded in 2015, Siren is trying to solve diabetic foot ulcers and amputations through the use of its Neurofabric technology which allows it to embed tiny temperature sensors directly inside of fabric of the Siren Diabetic Sock. That technology is combined with its Foot Monitoring System, allowing the company to alert people with diabetes when their feet are injured. Temperature sensors send a signal to a small tag in the sock and the tag then wirelessly transmits the temperature data via Bluetooth to the Siren app and Siren Hub.
“Temperature monitoring is clinically proven to reduce foot ulcers by up to 87.5 percent. When the body is injured, the skin heats up, meaning inflammation, we pick up on this heat signal and let the user know about a this temperature change via the Siren App,” Ma said.
Founder Ran Ma argues that the smart socks are a step up from traditional diabetic socks, which aim to improve blood circulation but do not provide monitoring or tracking capabilities.
While there are other diabetic socks out there, and good ones, Ma told me, the technology in them hasn’t been up dated for half a century; the old models don’t have the same monitoring and alerts that Siren include for giving the user the information regarding a potential injury.
“Our socks do everything that today’s traditional diabetic socks do, but we take it a step further by embedding microsensors directly into the fabric to continuously monitor temperature. Temperature monitoring is the only clinically proven way to reduce foot ulcers,” Ma said.
Although Ra hints that the company’s Neurofabric may be useful for other medical applications, the company plans to continue to focus on diabetic patients in the near future, and is planning to use the new funding to further smart sock development.
Siren will be using the money to deepen its product development, which means adding more sensors and improving scaling capacity, while also improving the algorithms to improve early detection mechanisms. In addition, the funding will go toward continued research and development of Neurofabric, a clinical trial, and expanding Siren’s 10 person team, specifically to hire more engineers.