Apple Watch Competitor Olio Raises $10 Million Series A, Launches New Collection of Premium Connected Watches

Olio smartwatch stackOlio Devices has closed a $10 million Series A funding round led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA).  The new funding comes after raising a solid $4 million in an earlier round that helped to create the company founded by an Apple veteran. Olio launched a series of smartwatches that skipped the plastic and went straight to high end materials that you find in premium watches.  Following the success of Pebble, and the launch of the Apple Watch, Olio positioned its product on the high end of smartwatches but at a very approachable price (starting at $595).

This capital injection follows Olio’s successful launch of smartwatches this past spring. The initial release quickly sold out and the new funds will allow Olio to scale by expanding its team, explore new partnerships and further evolve the product pipeline.

Olio with Steel BandThe pretail crowdfunding round in March is well on its way to fulfillment, according to Olio. The company is now launching a second batch Olio watches “due to overwhelming demand”.  Olio states one hundred pieces each of the rose gold and yellow gold models, as well as five hundred additional pieces each of the original black and steel collections are being produced. The gold smartwatches are ion-plated with pure 24 karat gold or 18 karat rose gold, and feature a single-crystal sapphire lens.  Olio says these new models continue Olio’s tradition of using the highest quality materials to create beautifully functional timepieces.

Steve Jacobs OlioOlio co-founder and CEO Steve Jacobs explained how his company would develop over the next 12 months;

“In the next year we’d like to continue proving to the marketplace that the Olio Model One is a watch that not only tells time, but saves time. We will continue to role out new designs and materials, develop innovative features, integrate with useful services, and of course, continue shipping high-quality, hand-inspected watches to our growing family of customers.”

Apple entered the smartwatch market and almost immediately surpassed all existing products in market share.  While the jury is still out as to how successful the Apple Watch will be, as a clear competitor Jacobs sees an opportunity to differentiate his smartwatch versus the mass market approach of Apple.

“From a hardware perspective, Olio is the only connected watch that combines premium materials, high-end hand-finished workmanship, connectivity to both iOS and Android, Swiss-watch grade durability, and freedom to use any conventional watchband that suits your style. The software on Olio is unique in that it is focused exclusively on saving you time. It’s not a smartphone on your wrist – it doesn’t bother you and it doesn’t provide redundant functionality. Most importantly, Olio blends both of these key points of difference into a single, thoughtfully designed product.”

Rick YangNEA Partner Rick Yang views this “platform agnostic” strategy as a “massive opportunity”. “Olio has enormous growth potential, and we are thrilled to partner with them to build a modern, high-tech brand that combines classic appeal with next-generation technology,” said Yang.

The Internet of Things is all the rage and wearable tech has quickly shifted to focus on the wrist. While there are plenty of skeptics today, in the not so distant future we will probably all be wearing smart devices – probably called watches. This market is just beginning.  Jacobs wants Olio to be the epicenter of all your connected devices;

“Connecting to third party services and the Internet of Things is instrumental in how the Olio Model One operates. We’ll continue to make sure the Olio Model One is compatible with a wide variety of available services and evolve the product to really be a control hub for all of your smart devices.”


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