The Launch Place invests in FokusLabs, developer of anti-distraction wearable
The Launch Place announced today that it is investing $25,000 in FokusLabs, to fund research and development of RE-vibe, FokusLab’s anti-distraction vibrating wristband. RE-vibeTM is a vibration reminder band designed by a school psychologist to get wandering minds back on-task.
It’s currently estimated that more than 1 in 10 children ages 4-17 struggle to stay on-task while learning and completing school work. Considering all the advances in wearable technology, Rich Brancaccio, a school psychologist working with children with ADHD and on the autism spectrum, was both puzzled and frustrated by the absence of a practical device to provide that helping “tap on the shoulder” that so many children tend to need.
“I see a lot of students spend a significant portion of their day engaged in off-task behaviors. As such, it is not uncommon for these children who regularly daydream and are off-task to fall behind academically. Our pre-programmed wristband sends vibrating reminder signals, much like a tap on the shoulder. Our hope is that RE-vibeTM may empower many of these children to be more self-sufficient, independent learners.” said Rich Brancaccio, FokusLabs Founder.
“The Launch Place is focused on helping entrepreneurs like Rich. He saw a problem and decided to find a solution by inventing this device.” said The Launch Place President & CEO Eva Doss. This required learning about electronics and creating a basic prototype. Now that he has developed the band and produced a small batch of product, the next step is testing the device in the market.
“The Pre-Seed Investment program is intended to help companies, like FokusLabs, expedite the early stages of their startup development process, specifically in product and market validation and business model refinement,” she said.
With additional funds from The Launch Place, FokusLabs will step-up their research and development program by assessing the effectiveness of their device in real-world environments and utilizing the data to further refine the device before product launch, which is slated for Fall of 2015.
“This initial investment may become a precursor to our Seed Fund, where a larger round of early stage funding is available,” Doss said.
Brancaccio’s objective from the start was to help the millions of daydreaming children who struggle to stay on-task at home or school. Preliminary feedback of the device has been encouraging. The quiet vibration it emits on the wrist, actually helps kids to get back to work, by reminding them to think about their own actions. A simple instruction like, "When you feel this buzz, remember to ask yourself if you are doing what you are supposed to be doing", helps the vibration become synonymous with the necessary reminder. Based on the chosen setting, it approximates when the user may need a reminder. It is also aimed to mitigate the habituation that users wearing the same device for extended periods often experience.
FokusLabs sought-out the Launch Place for financial backing because of the individualized attention and strategic services offered by the Danville-based organization. “We had an immediate affinity for The Launch Place after meeting the staff and learning all they can offer a pro-social company like ours; they’re People-people, just like us”, said Brancaccio.
The Launch Place assists with entrepreneurship and business development, and job creation and retention through its business consulting, mentoring and training, residential and office subsidies, and two seed investment funds in the Dan River region of Virginia.
FokusLabs, Inc. is a North Carolina based company dedicated to helping children (and adults) overcome obstacles faced in the classroom and workplace by fusing psychology with technology. FokusLabs is headquartered in Wake Forest, NC, with office space in the Wireless Research Center of North Carolina.