Belgian HealthTech startup MOONBIRD raises €1.5M to help adults and young people breathe again

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The HealthTech start-up moonbird, which is developing a scientifically based device for calming down, has raised €1.5M in an investment round.

That consortium includes Akiles, ScaleFund, imec.istart, the Flemish investment company PMV, Buysse & Partners and a range of private investors.

40% of people globally suffer from stress, anxiety and sleep disorders. This number has been growing every year, long before the Covid-19 outbreak, and is reinforced by the increasing number of impulses we are exposed to every hour. Meditation and mindfulness have exploded in parallel.

Breathing exercises are essential to many of these techniques. Moonbird guides people in their breathing exercises, both with a digital coach and with a tactile device that fits in the palm of your hand.

The startup was founded in 2019 by brother and sister Michael (economist, ex-DegroofPetercam) and Stefanie Broes (PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences, ex-Cowboy). They came up with an intuitive, tactile handheld device to make people aware of their breathing and allow them to find the right breathing rhythm and train it daily.

In doing so, they aim to reduce the number of burn-outs and insomnia. Besides consumers, moonbird targets clinical coaches, psychologists and corporates where the device is introduced as a stress reduction device for employees.

Moonbird co-founders: Stefanie and Michael Broes
Moonbird co-founders: Stefanie and Michael Broes

During stress, our sympathetic or ‘fight or flight’ nervous system is overactive. This increases blood pressure and heart rate, and reduces our heart rate variability. The latter is the natural variation between successive heartbeats, and the higher, the healthier.

The moonbird device guides you to breathe at a slow rhythm, which has been scientifically proven to activate the body’s natural relaxation response. This restores the healthy balance in your nervous system and increases heart rate variability.

says Stefanie from moonbird

In close cooperation with breathing coaches, psychologists and renowned neurologists such as Prof. Steven Laureys, extensive research was carried out into how moonbird can optimally assist its users. The device, the app and the algorithms help with better breathing, reducing stress and anxiety as well as improving focus and meditation.

Moonbird device
Moonbird device

Moonbird will use the growth capital to strengthen the team, offer additional guidance to consumers, a pioneer with companies that want to use the moonbird to improve wellbeing at work and roll out commercialization worldwide.

Most of us are not aware of the power that lies within our breathing. We want to help people to use their breathing in the right way, so they can relax, calm down or fall asleep faster. And ultimately, we want to improve the well-being of people worldwide.

Stefanie Broes, co-founder