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Antler Australia

Antler Investor Memo Series: Anda’s wearable uses breath tech to curb stress and anxiety 

- August 17, 2023 4 MIN READ
Anda cofounders James McWhinney, CEO, and Elisabet Sigurdardottir, CTO
Anda cofounders James McWhinney, CEO, and Elisabet Sigurdardottir, CTO

Early stage investment company Antler Australia recently backed a new cohort of startups as part of its ongoing program to build great local tech companies.

Startup Daily is sharing the details of each venture in the “Antler Investor Memos” series, which is designed to give you a quick,  sharp understanding of the startups and people involved, with many seeking follow up capital following Antler’s initial pre-seed investment.

Company: Anda 

Founded: 2023 

Stage : Pre-Seed 

Founders: James McWhinney, CEO, and Elisabet Sigurdardottir, CTO

Current investors: Antler 

Currently raising: Yes 

The business 

The global health and fitness sector has significantly broadened beyond physical exercise and diet in recent years to encompass holistic mental and physical wellness. This has been fuelled in part by shifts in consumer sentiment and demand by technology advances of wearables. 

According to SingleCare, in 2019, one-third of people globally felt stressed, worried or angry. The global Covid pandemic was then seen to exacerbated this issue with seven in 10 workers across Australia (70%) saying they experience stress at work at least once a week, up from 62% pre-pandemic, as reported in the Mirage News.

The Covid pandemic has also seen the $1.5 trillion health and wellness industry grow at an annual rate of up to 10%. Breathwork is a quickly growing segment in this market. 

Anda empowers individuals to connect with the transformative power of breath and take control of their physical and mental wellbeing. The jewellery-like Anda band is a smart device that serves as a personal breathing coach in moments of stress and anxiety. 

Using haptic feedback in the form of a gentle squeeze to mimic inhaling and release to mimic exhaling, the Anda band will proactively guide users through optimised breathing techniques. The Anda band is activated by recognising physical signs of stress and anxiety in users. 

The inspiration to build the company stemmed from the founders’ personal experiences with the power of breathwork. Elisabet, co-founder and CTO used breathwork and mindfulness practices as part of her recovery from a back injury. This experience, and unique advantage that both founders are breath coaches, sparked the idea to create the Anda band. 

Wearables have expanded beyond utilitarian smart watches as demonstrated by the Oura Ring which by 2022 had sold over a million rings and was valued at above US$2 billion. 

The Anda band will leverage growing consumer demand for both beautiful wearables and holistic health. 

Antler investment thesis 

“While other solutions focus on managing stress after the fact, the Anda band will help people to alleviate stress in the moment by providing real-time assistance,” says Antler Australia Partner James McClure. 

“Not only that, the band will be beautifully designed. Instead of looking like a clunky tech wearable, it feels like an elegant piece of jewellery. 

“With the added advantage of being a first-mover bringing breathwork into the hardware smart wearable space, Anda is creating innovative technology that solves an issue that affects over two billion individuals globally. 

“James and Elisabet are the team with an unfair advantage to capitalise on these trends given their creativity, drive and complementary skills.” 

Traction/milestones

To date, Anda has amassed a significant waitlist of registered purchasers. 

In addition to this, the founders have built the Anda Breathwork Community which has flourished into a vibrant and diverse network of breathwork coaches and enthusiasts from around the world, and now become one of the largest communities of its kind in Australia. 

The team is currently building its hardware prototype and hopes to bring it to market in early 2024. 

Latest funding 

Pre-Seed from Antler 

Use of funds 

Antler’s investment will fund product development, including refining the Anda hardware technology and building the accompanying software.

Anda will also undertake a marketing campaign to generate awareness and excitement for its upcoming Kickstarter campaign. 

In addition to funding, Anda said Antler’s broader support has been instrumental in driving the growth and scalability of its business. “Antler has provided us with valuable resources, mentorship, and a robust network of experts and industry connections,” says Anda co-founder James McWhinney. 

“Through Antler’s extensive network, we have been able to tap into a pool of experienced entrepreneurs, industry leaders, and potential partners. Their guidance and expertise have helped us refine our business strategy, navigate challenges, and identify opportunities for growth.” 

The founders say

“Our vision is to help solve stress and anxiety so people can take control of their lives,” says McWhinney. “Our goal is to provide a solution that goes beyond traditional wellness practices and integrates seamlessly into the modern lifestyle. 

“We believe that everyone deserves access to the transformative benefits of optimised breathing, and we are excited to bring the Anda band to individuals worldwide. 

“Having personally experienced the transformative effect of breathwork in managing our own health and busy lifestyles, we want to make this practice more utilised and accessible during stressful moments in daily life, such as before a crucial meeting or presentation. 

“To validate this, initial customer interviews show that people are desperate for a solution to stress and anxiety. 

“We are feeling a rising tide, with Breathwork on a similar trajectory to where yoga and meditation were 10-20 years ago. Starting with the Anda band, our vision is to be the leaders in the breath tech space. 

“If you’re interested in being one of the first individuals to experience the innovative smart wearable that works to reduce stress and anxiety, visit our website and sign up to our waitlist and keep an eye out for our Kickstarter campaign launch in the coming months.” 

What’s next? 

Antler, a global early-stage VC, is revealing its latest investments in ambitious Australian founders and startups. With over 100 investments in early-stage companies, Anda is one of its most recent portfolio companies. 

  • StartupDaily is the official media partner of Antler in Australia.