Our portfolio company, Kokoon has today announced a major new development. The sleep technology experts have launched the newest product in their sleep audio range – the product is available here on Kickstarter for pre-order. NightBuds is the follow up product to Kokoon’s hugely successful Relax headphones. We spoke to Kokoon founder Tim Antos to found out more.
I was struggling to sleep myself; I’d often be working long hours within stressful environments and I started finding it difficult to switch off at the end of each day. After trying all the available consumer remedies at the time, eventually, a doctor referred me to a sleep clinic. The clinic was excellent but very inconvenient in terms of location and getting an appointment. I learnt a huge about my sleep and it was fantastic for my sleep.
We created Kokoon with the mission to bring this fantastic science and knowledge to the everyday consumer on their own terms in a convenient and enjoyable manner. We wanted to find a way to bring the clinic experience to everyone. If you think half the population has sleep problems and only about 1% ever get to go a sleep clinic, there is a vast underserved group not getting all they could from their sleep.
The mission of Kokoon is to make sleep easier and more enjoyable. With modern technologies we now have the ability to unlock the science of sleep to help the wider population get more from their sleep.
There are two elements to the Kokoon platform. The first is the sleep coaching we offer customers - the insight and coaching provided through the app. Based in Cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia the coaching is tailored to the individual based on their sleep data. The second part is the specially designed headphones which enable enjoying audio in comfort in bed with that audio adapting and responding to the sleep (for example bookmarking an audiobook and pausing audio on sleep).
We began our journey in 2015, and our system launched in Summer 2018. It sold well – around 30,000 units – driven by the internet and word of mouth. It has proved very popular with travellers and is available in all the big travel stores.
Since that original launch, we have done lots of user research to find out what worked and what didn’t. We have continued to work closely with sleep scientists. Using all this information and integrating the latest developments, we have reimagined the product.
So, we are delighted to announce the launch next year of Kokoon Nightbuds. At just 5.4mm thickness, NightBuds will be the smallest in-ear sleep audio product currently available. They are available today for pre-order at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kokoon/nightbuds-smart-earbuds-for-better-sleep-and-relaxation.
The miniaturisation is transformational with the sensor, developed with a partner, a key enabler. We also have re-designed platform with more coaching and nudges based on our experience. It has been a significant undertaking for the last 18 months.
The pandemic has heightened the scale of the sleep problem, with more than half of the population reporting issues. We hope NightBuds will help consumers escape stress, an active mind, snoring, noisy neighbours and find the perfect, peaceful sanctuary to enjoy better sleep & relaxation.
In general, people are much more aware of the impact of sleep problems and their implications for their mental health. We want to see Doctors helping patients to use Kokoon as part of sleep and relaxation therapy. Other areas within the NHS could also benefit. For example, a central element of healing after surgery is sleep. Rest can be a struggle, especially for patients in hospital wards, and Kokoon can help. Our goal is to stop people needing sleep clinics by stopping their sleep problems getting chronic. We want to empower the NHS to resolve issues remotely.
Breed Reply was our first prominent investor, and they have supported us through subsequent rounds. Kokoon is an excellent example of IoT in action. You are putting the sensor into yourself, and the data collected is being turned into insight, and then action is taken. One of the critical things Breed Reply look at in potential investments is, does it help solve a real-world problem? Lack of sleep is definitely a real-world problem, and Kokoon has an ambition to solve it.