Interview with Valencell’s co-founder and President Dr. Steven LeBoeuf

Valencell's co-founder and President Dr. Steven LeBoeuf

Recently we’ve cornered Dr. Steven LeBoeuf, co-founder and President of Valencell, to ask him our “standard set of questions.”

LeBoeuf has developed ongoing strategic partnerships between Valencell and leaders in industry and academia. He has raised more than $10M in funding for Valencell and is the inventor/co-inventor of more than 50 patents.

Prior to Valencell, LeBoeuf led the optoelectronic biosensor program at GE Global Research, where he managed the development and productization of biosensor systems and developed cutting-edge nanosensor technology. Before that, LeBoeuf developed optoelectronic solid-state materials and devices while researching at North Carolina State University. He holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from N.C. State and a B.S. in Mathematics and Electrical Engineering from Louisiana Tech University.

Here’s what he had to share…

How would you pitch your company? What’s your elevator pitch?

Valencell is an expert and pioneer in precision biometric sensor technology. We license our technology to consumer electronics manufacturers, mobile device and accessory makers, sports and fitness, and gaming companies for integration into their products. Valencell’s proven and patented optomechanical sensor technology is available in multiple form factors and is used by more consumer brands than any other biometric fitness monitoring technology available today.

With 15 granted patents and dozens of patents pending internationally, our technology continuously measures more real-time biometric and physiological data than any other fitness monitor available, and does so with a high degree of accuracy and in a single device.

What sets you apart from competitors?

Valencell’s PerformTek Biometric is an internationally respected biometric sensor technology that powers wearables with accurate, continuous heart rate monitoring, during even the most aggressive physical exercise. It enables the development of exceptionally accurate wearables being brought to the market today. Using specialized optomechanics for sensing blood flow information, PerformTek biometrics delivers a purer signal, containing highly accurate biometric information regarding heart rate and respiration rate.

Additionally, our licensing partners gain a competitive advantage when they partner with us because we provide access to our on-site state-of-the-art testing lab and additional sports performance labs located at Duke University’s Center for Living, North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC), and Campbell University. Our partners leverage these facilities to measure the reliability, performance and accuracy of wearable products powered by PerformTek biometrics. These laboratories also work with our expert team to further research and development with additional metrics and wearable applications, such as gaming, military, and first responder.

What’s your business model?

We license our technology to consumer electronics manufacturers, mobile device and accessory makers, sports and fitness and gaming companies for integration into their products.

Can you share some numbers? How many users do you have?

By the end of this year, we expect to have hundreds of thousands of PerformTek-powered devices in the marketplace.

Where do you see the company going from here?

The growth of the biometric wearables space will demand increasingly more advanced sensor technology, and Valencell will be at the heart of these advancements. We see a future where biometric wearable devices are much more advanced, but ubiquitous and increasingly less visible and burdensome to the end-user. Biometric wearables will autonomously provide a much higher degree of functionality, providing the end-user with personalized information about how that particular individual can improve their health, fitness or performance. There will also be spill-over into other vertical markets. First responder and military markets, for example, will adopt technology developed for the consumer sector that is adapted for military-grade robustness.

Where do you see the mHealth industry going?

The mobile health sector will grow from advancements in the consumer sector, as medical professionals adopt biometric data and analyses from trusted sources. It is likely that these trusted sources will be regulated entities, however.

How long are we from seeing modern mHealth technologies going mainstream?

It is still a long way before wearable biometric sensor technology makes a dent in mHealth. There are still many technical and human-factors hurdles that have yet to be overcome. In currently available commercial products, the biometric data required to make meaningful assessments for actionable feedback lacks sufficient granularity, accuracy and diversity. Companies also have yet to figure out a way to make wearable devices products that people do not put in the sock drawer after a few months of use.