Breathometer, a smartphone-based device to measure bloodstream alcohol, and which made US television history when all five investors in the popular show Shark Tank bought in to the company, has announced that it will open a new mobile technology development center in Israel.
The announcement, reported by the Israeli business daily Calcalist, came after a successful presentation at the Wearable Tech conference in Tel Aviv this week. Charles Michael Yim, founder and CEO of Breathometer, sat as a committee member of the conference.
Breathometer initially raised $138,377 through a crowdfunding campaign on the popular platform Indiegogo. This was complemented by an extra $1 million by the ‘Shark Tank’ investors, with Structure Capital VC and Dillon Hill Capital bringing the seed capital up to $2 million. Now, with the device available in Walmart and on Bestbuy.com, and expected 2014 revenues of $12 million, the company can look for more serious investments in order to expand its reach. According to Yim, the company is now out to raise a further $10 million from current and new investors, and planning to put at least half that sum into building a mobile technology center in Tel Aviv.
“Silicon Valley is weak at the moment when it comes to skilled mobile developers,” said Yim, adding that “Israel is a great source for human resources in engineering. Taking into account the culture of innovation in Tel Aviv, this [investment] makes a lot of sense.”
The Breathometer device plugs into the headphone jack of smartphones, and by blowing into the tube the amount of alcohol in the user’s bloodstream is displayed onscreen. A new feature currently being developed is an option to order a taxi if the alcohol level is too high to legally and safely drive home. Yim hinted at a partnership with another successful Israeli startup, GetTaxi, but did not comment further.