Bose Ventures has led a Series A round along with other South African investors in a med-tech venture that seeks to disrupt the healthcare sector in both emerging and developed economies with affordable devices and services.
The venture investment arm audio products maker Bose Corp, has led the $8.3 million round in Pretoria-based hearX Group. Bose Ventures put in $3 million while co-investors- HAVAIC ($1.3 million), Sphere Holdings ($1 million) and Futuregrowth Asset Management who invested through its Development Equity Fund ($3 million), brought in the rest.
Established in 2016, hearX has conducted over one million hearing tests and screenings worldwide since its inception. It says its products are now used in 68 countries.
“The hearX Group is disrupting the traditional hearing healthcare industry by democratising and decentralising access to hearing care,” said Amrish Narrandes, head of unlisted equity transactions at Futuregrowth. “The hearX Group is doing this through its unique pricing model, leveraging smart tech and accessing big data through an omni sales channel.”
In addition to enabling auditory testing and screening, hearX has developed a set of calibrated headphones made by a third-party speaker maker. It has also developed a hearing aid called the Lexie Lumen. The company claims its hearing aid is selling at a quick pace in the US. It built its product using the smartphone technology.
Narrandes added, “What we found most attractive about Lexie Hearing is that it is sold in a market that is positioned to grow significantly due to the passing of the over-the-counter hearing aid legislation in the US. This will enable consumers to buy hearing aids without a prescription, disrupting the entire hearing aid market.”
According to the World Health Organization, hearing loss is one of the most widespread health conditions worldwide, as 466 million people have permanent disabling hearing loss. The condition affects about one-third of people over 65 years of age. The prevalence in this age group is most significant in South Asia, Asia Pacific and Sub-Saharan Africa.
This comes as a back-to-back deal for Futuregrowth as it had bought a stake in Thebe Tourism Group just last month. Other early-stage investments in the Futuregrowth fund’s portfolio include Rubicon, LifeCheq, Sweep South and Yoco.