, a device company that develops and sells the Halo Sport neurostimulation headset, announced yesterday that it has secured $13 million in Series B funding. Global private investment firm TPG led the round, which also had participation from prior investors Lux Capital, JAZZ Ventures Partners, and Xfund.
The Halo Sport headset connects to a paired mobile app to promote brain elasticity and improve the wearer’s development of muscle memory, according to the company. The charge is delivered through comb-like elastic foam nibs, which Halo instructs the user to wet and reattach to the headset before each “Neuropriming” session. After the 20 minute session, during which the headset delivers pulses of energy to the motor cortex, users will have roughly an hour to better learn whatever activity they are practicing.
Halo says that the headset is ideal for athletes looking to improve their strength or endurance through repetitive training exercises. However, they also market it to those looking to improve other skills involving muscle memory, such as playing an instrument or swinging a golf club.
"What started in 2013 as a team of neuroscientists who believed in the power of neurostimulation has led to a global movement,” Dr. Daniel Chao, CEO and cofounder, said in a statement. “We are proud to be the torchbearers in the space and are excited we now have the financial fuel to build and launch two new products that will further unlock human potential.”
During a wearables conference in 2016, Chao demonstrated the device and described a research trial involving college-level, Olympic, and professional athletes. This investigation found that over several weeks’ training, those who wore the neurostimulation headphones increased leg strength more than those who didn’t. Chao went on to hint at the company’s exploration of the device as a recovery tool.
“Now, we’re looking into how it could be used for stroke rehabilitation,” Chao said at the time. “Physical therapy doesn’t actually work that well, so what if we could combine with neurostimulation to accelerate the rate at which these people improve?”
Later that month, the company also announced that its devices were being used by several athletes preparing for the upcoming Summer Games. Currently, the company says its device is being used by the San Francisco Giants, the US Olympic Ski Team, and US Special Operations Forces.
"This round of funding is a testament to the proven science behind Halo, and to the enormous potential of the company in the areas of consumer and medical neuromodulation,” TPG’s Heath Lukatch, who will be joining Halo’s board, said. “Halo has pioneered a powerful new means of improving human performance, and we're proud to stand behind its technology and leadership.”
In the announcement, Halo also announced that Peter Gotcher — a veteran of Dolby Labs, GoPro, Pandora, and Jaunt VR — has joined the company’s board as executive chairman.
"Halo is a leader in unlocking the potential in the brain's capacity to learn, and stands as one of the most exciting new technologies I've seen in recent years,” Gotcher said in a statement. “Currently used by elite athletes at the highest level of sport, we anticipate a wider audience to develop among those seeking to improve a broad range of human activity, from sports-specific skills to key cognitive functions."