Leaked Documents May Indicate the Nature of Jawbone's Successor

The report from Bloomberg indicates Hosain Rahman maintained his ambitious streak even in the dying months of the once-thriving company he founded.

“The whole mission is to give people a better life,” Jawbone founder Hosain Rahman told Fortune of his company in 2015. Earlier this year, he liquefied the firm, but that better-life mission seems to remain intact.

This week, Bloomberg is reporting some potential insight on the nature of Rahman’s next tech endeavor. Jawbone Health Hub, rising from the ashes of the former Bluetooth-wearable giant, is rumored to be a full-on move into the medical device market.

The documents obtained by Bloomberg are apparently investor pitches, and they indicate a certain audacity. They state intent to tackle a host of health issues: diabetes, hypertension, abnormal heart rhythms, and stress management. The original story quote that the documents say, “Consumer-grade tracking will evolve to accurate clinical, then medical-grade monitoring.”

The story also discusses a possible relationship with Microsoft that would have tracked health and fitness data, integrating Jawbone wearables with Microsoft’s HealthVault platform. A heart monitoring bracelet was intended to come from technology developed by Spectros Corp., a medical device company that Jawbone quietly purchased in 2015. Other suggestions include disease-monitoring courses that correspond with device sales and subscription stress monitoring services.

The report does note that Jawbone Health Hub emailed a statement saying that, “The documents -- if legitimate and not doctored -- are nearly a year old, for a different company with a different business plan and different product line than the company we are currently operating…Our new business plans remain confidential.” According to Bloomberg, the documents they received originated in October 2016, more than 7 months before the original Jawbone company was dissolved for good.

Jawbone, launched in 1999, was among the first companies to enter what is an increasingly crowded market of wearable Bluetooth devices that kept consumers connected to their phones and informed on their vitals. In July, it came to light that the company was liquefying. In the preceding years, Jawbone had begun to sell off its inventory and drop support for its devices amidst long-simmering speculation that it intended a total transition into medical technology.

Starting up in the digital health and medical device fields is often difficult, demanding significant R&D in order to create truly proprietary, disruptive, and reliable technology. Competition is stiff, and regulation is typically a consideration (though the current FDA seems willing to be less stringent with certain device makers).

It remains to be seen what Jawbone Health Hub will actually end up making and selling, if it does someday reach that point. The report from Bloomberg, however, paired with the long-rumored plan to move beyond the consumer and into the clinic, paints a picture of an executive maintaining his ambitious streak even in the dying months of the once-thriving company he founded.

For a more in depth discussion on how wearables will impact the future of healthcare, listen in to HRA's webinar "Patient Centricity: Role of Wearable Technology in Patients with Chronic Conditions."