Lemonade Lab, the Japanese startup developing wearable sport devices, announced today that it has fundraised $5.8 million from FIH Mobile (HKEX:2038), a subsidiary of Taiwan’s electronics manufacturing giant Foxconn (TPEX:2317), as well as several angel investors. The company will use the funds to develop wearable devices and web services for top-tier cyclists and running athletes, planning to launch new products in Japan, Taiwan, the U.S. and France.
Lemonade Lab was founded by Kunihiko Kaji and his senior at university, the noted Japanese investor Taizo Son, in 2012. Prior to this, Kaji had launched several businesses including a system integrator focused on financial business apps. In November of 2013, the company introduced a mobile app under the same name at Tour de Tohoku, a cycling competition event in Japan’s Tohoku region. But they have kept quiet for nearly two years since then. Kaji told us how they were doing these days.
We have completely pivoted from our previous mobile app, which used to be focused on social networking features.
In terms of serving sport users, we found that it’s difficult to acquire stats and show them updates in real-time on smartphones. They can’t see smartphone displays while cycling or running.
The company says they can’t disclose details about the new concept due to patent pending, but we were told that it consists of sensors placed in several parts of the body as well as a main device which analyzes stats acquired from these sensors and transmits them to the cloud. The newly launched teaser site provides a glimpse into the concept.
We’ll have developed services for top-tier professionals and high-amateur athletes. Comparing low-ameteur and top-tier athletes, their sport training literacy are totally different, hence they want different types of information. For instance, non-professionals can’t understand the advice from their trainers like “This motion takes some seconds or some joules.”
We will create a service that can give users high-end feedback to help them improve exercise postures, in a level like that sport scientists give advice to athletes. Low-amateur people may not be able to understand it, but they will follow us later on if we can develop a high-end service.
In addition to Lemonade Lab, FIH Mobile, participating in the latest round, will also cooperate with the design and development of the new platform. Given that Kaji was in Boulder, a Rocky Mountain town famous for high-altitude sport training when we had this interview, his team is focused on the U.S. athletics market first. Towards the planned official service launch in 2016 Q1, the company will unveil a public beta program by this year-end in the U.S. as well as France famed for its Tour de France, Taiwan where Foxconn Group is headquartered, and Japan from whence they originate.
Lemonade Lab is sponsoring the local triathlon club Lemonade Bellmare in a Yokohama suburb, expecting to receive feedbacks from cyclists as well as athletes from the club and other teams to further optimize the product.
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy