Perth startup Omni Biotech has raised a $300,000 in pre-Seed funding from Melbourne VC Skalata Ventures to help develop its hydration monitoring platform.
Curtin and Stanford University graduates Will Poot and Zac Farrow are Omni’s cofounders and are using the existing optical sensors in smartphones and wearable devices to monitor a wearer’s hydration levels in the manner similar to sleep, steps and your heart rate.
Will Poot said dehydration is a health issue that can reduce productivity levels and reaction times by 30%, cause cardiovascular stress, and increase the risk of road accidents by 5x.
“There’s a growing public awareness of hydration as a critical component of physical and cognitive performance,” he said.
“People are left to rely on their thirst, which doesn’t kick in until these impacts are already at play.”
His cofounder, Zac Farrow, said that without early detection, dehydration can dangerous in sectors such as construction, mining, and emergency services are exposed to heat on top of intense physical labour.
“Dehydration leads to the three of the most commonly occurring workplace accidents on Australian heavy industry sites,” he said.
“We want to help those 75% of Aussies who are spending their whole day in a state of dehydration.
The current solutions include blood, urine and sweat tests are “like trying to understand a movie based on a single frame”, Poot said, with Omni able to detect and correlate blood flow characteristics to hydration levels with high accuracy, every 90 seconds, alerting users if there’s an issue.
Thry recently completed a pilot with Woodside Energy at its Karratha gas plant in WA and are now undertaking a validation study at Monash University which will further develop the Omni algorithm.
Farrow Omni will leverage their data pipeline and corollary analysis of cardiovascular pulse waves, to build out a full suite of novel health metrics.
“Step counters proved that access to health data leads to behavioural change. But there needs to be constant access for people to make better decisions and perform at their best,” he said.
“By increasing access to insights previously reserved for elite athletes, we’re giving everyday people and teams the opportunity to perform at their elite level.”
Skalata investor Rob Greco said: “Increasing public comfort with health tracking and the explosive growth of wearable technology means the time is now right for Omni to go to market.”