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GoBe grabs $1m on Indiegogo, but does it really work?

0 17 April 2014

GoBe, the Russian startup behind the HealBe fitness bracelet, has raised over $1 million on crowdfunding site Indiegogo.com.

GoBe initially started its crowdfunding campaign in order to get some publicity and to raise in the region of $100,000. However, interest in the bracelet, which the company describe as an all-in-one fitness tracker capable of measuring calories consumed and burned, blood pressure, heart rate and a range of other variables, exploded and the project passed their initial target within days. 

However, this success attracted increased scrutiny of the firm’s product, and prompted James Robinson of Pando.com to publish a series of articles in which experts criticised the technology behind HealBe. According to Robinson, the non-invasive glucose reader which is HealBe's big selling point is something of a 'holy grail' for diabetes researchers, and the idea that the Russian company has created one that works is laughable. He also called out the firm for its lack of published research. 

Robinson's campaign led a number of those who had funded the project on Indiegogo to ask for their money back. He claims that they "began to pour in", but co-founder Artur Shipitsin said that the company had been asked to return just $15,000 - $20,000, a mere 3% of the total amount raised. 

Shipitsin also defended the project, claiming that GoBe has already secured patents for the technology required to deliver accurate calorie input and output analysis, and that it is applying for further patents. 

Those who funded the project on Indiegogo are supposed to receive their bracelets (offered at a significant discount) this June. Before then the company is planning to raise a $6 million round, which will enable it to start mass production. But only if it actually works...

Top image via Shutterstock

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