Waterloo, Ontario’s Thalmic Labs has raised a US$120 million Series B funding round, led Intel Capital, the Amazon Alexa Fund and Fidelity Investments Canada, with additional participation from Spark Capital, First Round Capital, and iNovia.
Thalmic Labs was founded in 2012 by University of Waterloo Mechatronics Engineering program graduates Stephen Lake, Matthew Bailey and Aaron Grant.
They launched their flagship product, the Myo gesture control armband, in 2013, which has found widespread acceptance in a variety of applications, including by researchers at Johns Hopkins University who used it to allow an amputee to control a robotic hand, by surgeons in Spain who are using Myo armbands to navigate medical slides while performing surgery, by researchers at Arizona State University who are using Myo armbands to translate American Sign Language, and by DJ Armin van Buuren who uses two Myo armbands to control the music and lights in his stage show.
In June 2013, Thalmic Labs closed a $14.5 million Series A round of funding, led by Spark Capital and Intel Capital.
“We founded Thalmic knowing that in order to produce truly breakthrough products, we’d have to invent entirely new underlying technologies to bring them to life,” said Thalmic Labs Co-founder and CEO Stephen Lake. “This investment will be used to fuel continued growth and development of future products already in the pipeline, and will help us realize our vision of a new era of computing, where the real and digital worlds will blend seamlessly.”
Thalmic Labs has doubled its size over the past 12 months, and now employs over 100 engineers, researchers, and creators at its Waterloo headquarters, with plans to aggressively grow their workforce both in Waterloo and their newly opened San Francisco office.
“In the three years since Intel Capital first invested in Thalmic, they’ve made tremendous breakthroughs in technology,” said Josh Walden, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the New Technology Group at Intel Corp. “These innovations augment Intel’s strategy for wearable technology and align with our vision to bring new and exciting experiences to users. We’re excited to continue working together.”
Earlier this month, Thalmic Labs announced the hiring of Tara Kriese, former Senior Director and Head of Marketing at Samsung Electronics America, as their new Chief Marketing Officer.
“Thalmic is pushing the boundaries of what we thought possible with hands-free technology,” said Steve Rabuchin, Vice President, Alexa. “We’re excited to invest in Thalmic to help continue their innovative work and look forward to exploring future product integrations with Alexa.”
The new funding may also help Thalmic Labs expand into other forms of wearable technology, since the company filed a U.S. patent application for “Systems, devices, and methods for eyebox expansion in wearable heads-up displays” last month.
“Myo was just the beginning,” wrote Stephen Lake in a Medium article posted this morning. “We have new products in the pipeline and are excited to share more soon.”
This is the largest fundraising round by a Canadian start-up this year, and the largest ever by a company of Thalmic’s size in the Waterloo region.
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