YC-Funded WakeMate Helps You Kiss Groggy Mornings Goodbye


Ah, the curse of the groggy morning. You may have followed all the rules: no caffeine before bed, an early bedtime, and all the rest. But your best efforts are oftentimes for naught, foiled by the mysterious ways of sleep cycles. There may be an answer: WakeMate, a Y Combinator-funded startup that’s launching today, is looking to help you catch that ever-elusive good night’s sleep (and maybe even the perfect nap, too).

WakeMate is one of the few startups we’ve see that actually involves its own physical product (another that comes to mind is FitBit). To use the service, you first order the WakeMate wristband from the website, which costs $50. Then, you download an application for your Bluetooth-enabled smartphone (WakeMate is launching with support for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Mobile, and a standard Java app for non-smart phones; support for Palm’s WebOS is on the way).

Once you’ve installed the app and paired your wristband with your phone, you set your alarm (more on that later) and hit they hay. The wristband tracks the movement of your wrist through the night, which it can use to analyze your sleep patterns. If you’re raising your eyebrows you’re not alone – this sounded strange to me at first, but co-founder Greg Nemeth explains it’s a well established sleep-study technique called actigraphy.

The WakeMate wristband collects data throughout the night and stores it on internal Flash storage. When it’s time to wake you up WakeMate doesn’t necessarily sound an alarm at exactly the time you set. Instead, it monitors your sleep patterns for the 20 minute window prior to that and sounds your alarm when you’re in the lightest sleep mode, which can help eliminate that groggy feeling you sometimes wake up with. The alarm doesn’t come from the wristband though – instead, the wristband uses Bluetooth to trigger your cell phone’s alarm. It then transmits your sleep data to your phone, which in turn uses its cellular data connection to upload it to the WakeMate servers. You can then browse through your sleep history from the WakeMate website.

WakeMate will be facing off with a number of other sleep devices, including the Zeo Personal Sleep Coach, which was released over the summer. The Zeo consists of a standalone alarm clock that pairs with a headband that measures your brainwaves as opposed to your wrist movements. It’s also quite a bit more expensive than WakeMate, running around $250. Nemeth says he says the Zeo as a powerful tool for people who need to diagnose their sleep problems. But he says that WakeMate has a much broader appeal, in part because of its lower price, but also because it’s more portable.

For example, WakeMate can be used to help you take the ideal nap, even when you’re on the go. The device has modes for both ‘power naps’ (which last around 30 minutes) and ‘full naps’, which range from 60-90 minutes.

WakeMate shows promise, but I don’t love the fact that it requires a Bluetooth handset to trigger its alarm. It seems like it would be easier just to integrate an alarm directly into the wristband, along with a cheap LED display so you can set the time (you could still use Bluetooth to transfer your sleep data via a handset). Co-founder Arun Gupta says they’ve considered this, but that integrating an alarm would make it bulkier, less comfortable, and more expensive. He also points out that some people might sleep with their arm under their pillow, which could muffle the alarm (perhaps they could include a ‘vibrate’ mode).

All of that said, the sleep industry has a broad appeal – who hasn’t wished they could kiss those groggy mornings goodbye? And the $50 pricepoint is low enough to make the product attractive even for people who don’t have serious sleep issues. You’ll have to wait a while to try one though: the site is now accepting preorders (you get $5 off) but the wristbands won’t start shipping until January.

Image by

More TechCrunch

Consumer demand for the latest AI technology is heating up. The launch of OpenAI’s latest flagship model, GPT-4o, has now driven the company’s biggest-ever spike in revenue on mobile, despite…

ChatGPT’s mobile app revenue saw biggest spike yet following GPT-4o launch

Dating app maker Bumble has acquired Geneva, an online platform built around forming real-world groups and clubs. The company said that the deal is designed to help it expand its…

Bumble buys community building app Geneva to expand further into friendships

CyberArk — one of the army of larger security companies founded out of Israel — is acquiring Venafi, a specialist in machine identity, for $1.54 billion. 

CyberArk snaps up Venafi for $1.54B to ramp up in machine-to-machine security

Founder-market fit is one of the most crucial factors in a startup’s success, and operators (someone involved in the day-to-day operations of a startup) turned founders have an almost unfair advantage…

OpenseedVC, which backs operators in Africa and Europe starting their companies, reaches first close of $10M fund

A Singapore High Court has effectively approved Pine Labs’ request to shift its operations to India.

Pine Labs gets Singapore court approval to shift base to India

The AI Safety Institute, a U.K. body that aims to assess and address risks in AI platforms, has said it will open a second location in San Francisco. 

UK opens office in San Francisco to tackle AI risk

Companies are always looking for an edge, and searching for ways to encourage their employees to innovate. One way to do that is by running an internal hackathon around a…

Why companies are turning to internal hackathons

Featured Article

I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Women in tech still face a shocking level of mistreatment at work. Melinda French Gates is one of the few working to change that.

23 hours ago
I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s  broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Blue Origin has successfully completed its NS-25 mission, resuming crewed flights for the first time in nearly two years. The mission brought six tourist crew members to the edge of…

Blue Origin successfully launches its first crewed mission since 2022

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of the top entertainment and sports talent agencies, is hoping to be at the forefront of AI protection services for celebrities in Hollywood. With many…

Hollywood agency CAA aims to help stars manage their own AI likenesses

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

3 days ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

3 days ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases