London based Kokoon, a leading digital health technology business specialising in personalised audio coaching proven to promote better sleep, has secured a £430,000 loan from The Greater London Investment Fund (GLIF) which includes £250,000 in conjunction with the government backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).
Many environmental factors can contribute to restless nights, varying from reduced sleep patterns to full on insomnia, anything can trigger it: noisy neighbours, family worries or financial concerns. Currently, more than half the population have experienced more anxiety, isolation and screen time during the pandemic, having an increased effect on sleeping patterns.
Tim Antos, Kokoon’s CEO and Co-Founder was no stranger to a poor night’s sleep. Struggling with insomnia for many years he attended sleep clinics in a bid to find better sleep. Tim realised that sleep clinics provided fantastic support but tended to be inaccessible and inconvenient for most, so he set out to make the knowledge and insights he had gained at these clinics, available to the public and he decided the best way to do this would be via a consumer-friendly product which uses audio to slow a busy mind. He got in touch with Richard, a highly skilled Electronic Engineer and together they set about designing and producing a non-pharmaceutical, digital “go to” product which would enable people to get a better night’s sleep.
Founded in 2013, they launched Kokoon; intelligent, interactive headphones which use audio, proven to be effective in clinical trials to help improve and encourage sleep. Audio from their app ranges from personalised CBT coaching tailored and based on an individual’s sensor data through to soundscapes, relaxing music or audio books.
Working with and drawing on expert advice from sleep scientists, these comfortable easy to wear headphones lull the wearer to sleep at night with their favourite audio. Being linked to a smartphone app, it will also monitor and record important sleep data patterns. The intelligent software lowers the sound once asleep to avoid disturbance. Should the wearer awaken during the night, the audio then recommences to encourage sleep. Upon waking refreshed, the app will provide insights and coaching specific to the individual, helping them to understand their sleep pattern enabling them to make necessary adjustments to further improve their sleep.
Tim Antos, Co-Founder and CEO of Kokoon commented: “Richard and I wanted to create a product which would help democratise sleep science. Nearly 2/3 of the population are reporting poor sleep and it’s become an issue for nearly 1/3 of the population yet very few of us can justify a visit to the sleep clinic. We wanted to make the established science and techniques of the sleep clinic more accessible and convenient to all. This growth loan will allow us to recruit 5 new employees in the early part of 2021 whilst the CBILS element allows us to retain existing staff to continue working from home fulfilling current sales orders. There will also be a strong focus on new product development. As well as the widely available original Kokoon over ear headphones, our in-ear bud product is on pre-order and we wish to further promote this whilst continuing to develop our product offering.”
Paul Shadbolt, Senior Fund Manager for The FSE Group, who manages the £55 million GLIF debt fund on behalf of Funding London, commented: “GLIF supports innovative high growth businesses in Greater London. We were impressed by Kokoon’s products which have demonstrated commercial traction which are key attributes for commercial success. We are pleased to be supporting them through the opportunities and challenges of the pandemic and into their next phase of growth.”
Maggie Rodriguez-Piza, CEO at Funding London, adds: “Kokoon has developed an innovative and affordable solution to a problem which seriously affects one third of the population. We are delighted to help Tim and Richard and support the excellent operation they have built, to fulfil current demand and to underpin future growth.”
GLIF is a £100m initiative to help address the SME finance gap in Greater London, promoting economic growth through enterprise and an inclusive and sustainable economy. £55m of debt funding is available, via loans between £100,000 and £1m, to early-stage and established SMEs looking to scale-up and realise their growth ambitions. GLIF is financed through the European Investment Bank (EIB), European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), London Waste & recycling Board (LWARB) and Funding London’s Legacies.
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is managed by the British Business Bank on behalf of, and with the financial backing of, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and industrial Strategy (BEIS). Deadline for CBILS applications has been extended to 31 March for UK businesses.