in Asleep

Starting from KAIST, A game-changer in the global sleep market is coming

|by Asleep

    [Editor’s Note]

    Asleep, a sleep tech startup starting from KAIST electrical and electronic engineering researchers, including CEO Lee Dongheon, who holds a master's degree in AI from KAIST. Six researchers from diverse backgrounds had come together with the aim of addressing global issues based on the vast potential for development in the sleep market and AI. Recognizing the long-emphasized importance of sleep and the potential for innovation combining sleep and technology, they founded Asleep to directly contribute to practical innovations in this field.

    In its fourth year since establishment, Asleep has been recognized for the growth potential and achievements of its technology, winning the '2023 Korean Innovation Startup Award' on November 8. This award is presented to seven companies that have passed the criteria selected at the '2023 International Symposium on Korea, The Country of Innovation and Start-ups' an annual event organized by KAIST, Seoul National University, and JoongAng Media Network. Asleep, which started at KAIST and showcased globally recognized technological capabilities, is among the most noteworthy innovations in the symposium.

    Asleep, founded by AI experts from KAIST, aims to create a better and healthier society based on the potential of AI technology. The six co-founders, while discussing entrepreneurial ideas, became aware of the increasingly serious issue of sleep problems not only in South Korea but globally. More than 62% of the world's population fails to get the desired amount of sleep, and the number of people experiencing sleep problems is increasing annually (Philips Global Sleep Survey, 2019). However, technology that can effectively address this issue is still in its early development stages. Despite importance of sleep issues have emphasized among industries, the medical field, and government agencies, practical examples of domestic innovation combining technology are particularly difficult to find.

    Notably, Asleep focused on developing sleep monitoring technology that can directly address sleep problems before creating solutions to solve them. Since factors influencing sleep are highly diverse, understanding the individual causes of sleep problems is crucial for finding the most suitable improvement methods. By knowing oneself's sleep with accurate data every night, individuals can apply personalized solutions. To discover these 'individual answers' to sleep, Asleep developed AI technology that monitors sleep stages in real-time through breathing sounds during sleep. This not only allows for health management during waking hours, such as weight, muscle mass, and exercise, but also connects daytime and nighttime health management. Asleep envisions a society where everyone can proactively manage their health and lives by dedicating one-third of our lives during nighttime to health management.

    Asleep participated in the KAIST Startup Program, taking practical steps toward entrepreneurship. Within less than a year of its founding, in March 2021, the company was selected for the TIPS (Tech Incubator Program for Startup) and secured Series A investment in May of the same year. As a result of the KAIST Startup Program, Asleep was highlighted as an outstanding student startup case at the 2022 KAIST 'TECH-DAY.' In its second year of establishment, Asleep attracted a Series B investment of 16 billion KRW (approximately 14 million USD), and as of 2023, the company is recognized with a valuation of 90 million USD. Starting from the KAIST Startup Program and now standing at the forefront of the sleep market, Asleep's growth makes this award particularly meaningful.

    The '2023 International Symposium on Korea, The Country of Innovation and Start-ups' that Asleep recently participated in is an event organized by KAIST, Seoul National University, and JoongAng Media Network, aimed at encouraging innovative startups to contribute to global corporate growth. During the symposium, figures such as Hong Seok-hyun, the chairman of JoongAng Media Network CEO; Lee Kwang-hyung, the president of KAIST; Ryu Hong-lim, the president of Seoul National University; Kim Jin-pyo, National Assembly Speaker; and Lee Jong-ho, Minister of Science and ICT, attended the event to discuss ways to promote deep tech innovation entrepreneurship. The symposium awarded seven outstanding innovation startup companies selected based on the innovation, growth potential, and achievements of their held technologies. As a recipient of this year's Seoul National University President's Award, Asleep was specially recognized for its innovative technology.

    Asleep's technology, particularly acknowledged for its innovation, involves using AI to detect respiratory sounds during sleep and digitizing this information. The company provides a service called 'SleepRoutine,' which accurately monitors sleep through devices like smartphones equipped with microphones. There’s no the need for additional hardware purchases.

    >> Related Article - More Accurate than a Smart Watch with Sleep Sound

    The collaborative research of Stanford University, and Bundang Seoul National University Hospital, based on their innovative technology using sleep sounds, has also received high praise. A comparison of 11 types of sleep trackers on the market revealed that SleepRoutine outperformed devices from overseas big tech companies such as Apple, Google, and Amazon. This information underscores the superior performance of SleepRoutine. The results have garnered significant attention from various research institutions familiar with AI technology and individuals experiencing deep concerns about sleep disorders who have tried multiple devices.

    >> Related Article - Apple, Google, Amazon, and Others: Comparison Study on the Accuracy of 11 Commercial Sleep Traking Devices

    Asleep not only focuses on the development of sleep AI technology but also collaborates with the National Sleep Foundation(NSF) to enhance sleep recognition. Recently, the company presented insights into sleep patterns through a comparative study of sleep conditions in South Korea and the United States. Additionally, by delivering the highest number of research abstracts at the World Sleep Congress, a global event in sleep medicine, Asleep leads the way in the global sleep market.

    🧑🏻‍🔬 The research jointly presented by Asleep and the US National Sleep Foundation(NSF)

    1️⃣ Population-Based Estimates of Sleep Characteristics and Disruptors in the United States and South Korea

    2️⃣ Sleep Technology Use and Beliefs in the United States and South Korea

    Aligned with the era of hyper-personalization, Asleep aims to facilitate the application of individual sleep data across various sectors, aspiring to contribute to better sleep and improved lives. Possessing the world's largest AI sleep dataset, Asleep not only offers sleep solutions but also contributes to building ecosystems across diverse industries, including electronics, beauty, and finance. From its origins at KAIST to its recent recognition in innovative entrepreneurship, Asleep is committed to advancing as a gamechanger in the global sleep market through its continued efforts in developing advanced sleep AI technology.

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