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28 September 2017

Xenoma tracks down $1.8m round

University of Tokyo’s UTokyo Innovation Platform has invested in the wearable technology developer, which is planning to customise its smart apparel design for business clients.

Author: Callum Cyrus, reporter

University of Tokyo’s venture capital arm, UTokyo Innovation Platform, has invested in a ¥200m ($1.8m) round for Japan-based smart apparel developer Xenoma, the Bridge reported on Tuesday.

The round also included government-owned research institute Japan Science and Technology Agency and venture capital firm Beyond Next Ventures, both of which backed a previous ¥185m funding in May 2016 led by Beyond.

Xenoma claims that its so-called “e-skin” technology can be easily woven into washable, durable and stretchable apparel for purposes like exercise or virtual reality control.

E-skin does not need a camera to function, instead monitoring pressure, positioning and movement through an attachable controller, 14 stretch and strain sensors and a three-axis accelerometer.

The latest cash will be used to build customisable versions of the technology for potential business clients and develop a low-cost option for the consumer market.

Xenoma had in March 2016 obtained a ¥70m grant from the Japanese government-owned research agency New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation to help ready the technology for end-users. A crowdfunding campaign for the company earlier this month raised $55,827.

University of Tokyo launched the UTokyo Innovation Platform unit in September last year, earmarking ¥23bn for its first fund. The initiative has allocated between 60 and 70% of its outlay for 40-50 materials and pharmaceuticals-focused startups.

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