Sloucher alert! Lumo Back and Lumo Lift give you a buzz when you have bad posture to help you remember to stand straight with shoulders back and head held high. (Hint: it’s much better than balancing a book on your head.)
Most entrepreneurs get a good idea and then they form a company and go about raising money. Lumo Body Tech (LBT) co-founders, Charles Wang, Andrew Chang, and Monisha Perkash (fellow Stanford MBA students) did it the other way around. They were fortunate to join Eric Schmidt’s (Executive Chairman of Google) Innovation Endeavors (IE) program that works with innovators who are “pre-team and pre-idea to help them go through the ideation process and find problems to solve with lasting businesses.” That’s cool.
One of LBT’s co-founders, Andrew, had been plagued with low back problems for years and had not found relief with traditional approaches. He happened to talk with Monisha’s husband, a spine surgeon, who recommended he take posture classes (now that’s notable – a spine surgeon recommending posture classes instead of surgery!). He took some classes, got better, and, voila – the idea for Lumo Body Tech was born.
The Lumo Back is born
Incubation at Innovation Endeavors and raising money from other VCs, as well as a successful Kickstarter campaign, led to the company first product, Lumo Back. Lumo Back is a sensor that you strap around your waist. It can tell if you are standing, sitting, walking, running, or lying down. It also vibrates if it detects that you are slouching. The device is accompanied by an app that has a stick figure that shows you how you look – standing straight or slouching. In addition the app tracks your steps and your sit time (remember, sitting is the new smoking), counts the number of times you stand, ands measures your sleep time by the determining how long you are lying down. It also estimates calories based on the amount of time you spend doing each of the activities.
Whereas the LumoBack targets low back slouching, LBT’s newest product, the Lumo Lift, helps you with upper body posture. According to a video on the Lumo Lift site, the gadget helps you “stand tall and strong.” It detects upper body slouch (head and shoulders dropped forward) and, when set to vibrate, it reminds you to hold your head high and pull those shoulders back. It is sort of like having your mother in you pocket at all times. The Lumo Lift also tracks your steps and mileage. And, it reminds you when you are inactive too long.
Crowdfunding Kickstarter vs the Lumo Body Tech Website
Interestingly, although LBT has a successful crowdfund for Lumo Back on Kickstarter a few years ago (they raised $200,000, $100,000 over their goal), they decided to crowdfund for Lumo Lift on the LBT website. According to an interview I did with Charles Wang (you can listen to it here), they did this so that traffic would be driven to their own website as opposed to a crowdfunder site. It doesn’t hurt that they also save on the crowdfund fees.
The Lumo Lift is in last phase of the “pre-sale” crowdfund. In the few hours since I chatted with Charles, the number of Lumo Lifts available at the pre-sale discount has gone from 57 to 29, so if you want one in the first round of shipments (Summer 2014), you had better hurry. The price is $79, $20 off of the planned $99. Luckily, I already ordered mine. The only question now is whether I should go back and order the Lumo Back. I think I will.
Update: I did!