We’re only a month into 2017, but it’s already been a rough year for Jawbone. The departure of the company’s CFO, the abject lack of customer support, and the general sense that the company is lacking direction seems to be wearing on the wearables company. But now, the once-Fitbit competitor is looking toward a new challenge with hopes of rejuvenating itself. According to TechCrunch, the company will be pivoting away from fitness bands and towards “a health product and accompanying set of services sold primarily to clinicians and health providers working with patients.”
In order to do so, the San Francisco-based company will be planning to raise yet another round of funding (it’s already gone through 11 to raise over $590 million). And as per sources, Jawbone is looking to “new strategic investors in the wider medical sector” for its latest round.
It’s a far cry from where Jawbone started, when its claim to fame was its headsets and speakers. It then embarked upon a fitness quest, pitting itself against (and ultimately losing to) Fitbit. But perhaps the third time will be the charm when it comes to the company’s specialty.
“There are a lot of things to learn about the interactions between health wellness and consumer electronics,” one source close to the company told TechCrunch. He also noted that consumer hardware is difficult to pull off. “If you think about what a good consumer electronics company looks like, it’s 30-percent margins, annual release cycles and huge risk. It’s turned into a blockbuster game,” he said. “But folks in this other area, like Omada and other services, they have a human involved but with a nearly 100-percent contribution margin. It’s wildly different economics. Every wearable company today will be posed with this question: Do I want to play in consumer and narrow margins, or healthcare and service and make incredible margins but with possibly a lot of upfront fixed cost.”
So here’s hoping, Jawbone. Perhaps the medical field will be your big break.