Bose Ventures—the corporate venture capital arm of Bose International—has contributed $3 million along with South African VC firm HAVAÍC ($1.3 million), Futuregrowth Asset Management ($3 million), and Sphere Holdings ($1 million), to provide startup hearX with an $8.3 million Series A funding round, according to articles on the Afrikan Heroes and ITWeb sites. Bose Venture previously invested in hearX in 2019.
HearX, which was founded at the University of Pretoria in 2015 by professor De Wet Swanepoel and Dr Herman Myburgh, aims to be a disrupter in the traditional hearing healthcare space, according to ITWeb, by increasing access and affordability. ITWeb reports that the company intends to launch its “direct-to-consumer hearing care solution” Lexie Hearing in the United States, and has collaborated with Walgreens to sell its product online in 38 states. The subscription service aims to provide customers with hearing aids, accessories, and access to support from hearing experts, for a monthly fee.
ITWeb also reports that hearX plans to “widely scale up across Kenya and other African countries, where 97% of people requiring hearing aids can’t access them.”
In a 2018 article that appeared on Hearing Review, the nonprofit Hear the World Foundation announced it was working with hearX to help provide hearing screenings to low-income South African townships via the company’s hearScreen app. The app is designed to facilitate testing without equipment or specialized audiological knowledge, according to the company, improving access and cutting costs considerably. If the app detects a hearing problem, the person can be referred to a local audiologist for care. The hearScreenUSA app officially launched in the US on October 10, 2018 at the National Press Club in Washington DC, after an announcement at the American Academy of Audiology’s (AAA) annual conference in April.
According to the company’s Group Annual Impact Report for 2018-19, over 500,000 tests have been conducted in 38 countries.
“Support from Bose Ventures will enable hearX to more aggressively tackle hearing loss and advance hearing care solutions,” hearX CEO Nic Klopper was quoted as saying in the Afrikan Heroes article. “Our team has worked tirelessly to touch over 1.5 million lives globally, so an investment of this magnitude in hearX is tremendously rewarding and motivating for us all.”
Sources: Afrikan Heroes, ITWeb, Hearing Review