Kitchener's Thalmic Labs secures nearly $160 million from investors

Thalmic Labs says the investment will help the company "realize our vision for the next era of computing, where the lines between humans and digital technology become increasingly blurred.”

Money will help company 'realize our vision for the next era of computing'

Thalmic Labs announced it has secured nearly $160 million in funding from U.S. and Canadian investors. (Matthew Kang/CBC)

Thalmic Labs in Kitchener is ready to move beyond their successful Myo gesture control armband thanks to nearly $160 million in funding from investors.

The company announced Monday it has secured $120 million US from investors including Intel Capital, the Amazon Alexa Fund and Fidelity Investments Canada.

"We've been reimagining human-computer interaction since we first created the Myo armband in 2012 and are proud of what the team at Thalmic has accomplished to date. With Myo, we built an entirely new type of sensor from the ground up, made breakthrough advances in gesture recognition, and ultimately turned science fiction into reality for tens of thousands of customers in over 150 countries," Thalmic Labs co-founders Stephen Lake, Aaron Grant and Matthew Bailey wrote in a post on Medium.com.

Money 'just one step'

The Myo armband, which retails for about $260 ($199 US) senses a person's muscle activity in their arm and the armband processes that information, allowing the person to then control things like their computers, smartphones and video games.

But the founders said it's evolved into more than that – researchers have used the armband to train amputees how to use prosthetic limbs, translate sign language and build virtual reality experiences.
Johnny Matheny lost his arm to cancer, but using the the Myo armband from Waterloo's Thalmic Labs he's able to control a prosthetic arm with his brain. (Johns Hopkins University)

"Nearly four and a half years in, what we're most proud of is the incredible team of people who have joined us. It's a team that lives at the intersection of science and engineering; reasoning from first principles and pioneering new paths," the post said.

The money will help Thalmic hire sales, marketing and business development positions in their new San Francisco location while also building the research and development side of the company in Waterloo.

"This financing marks an exciting milestone for us, however, it's just one step on a long journey ahead of us. Today is still day one," the post said.

"This new investment will help us realize our vision for the next era of computing, where the lines between humans and digital technology become increasingly blurred."

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story spelled Aaron Grant's name incorrectly.
    Sep 20, 2016 1:25 PM ET

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