Proxy Acquires Smart Ring Startup Motiv – Digital identity signals on smart ring ignites new era for wearables

Proxy has acquired Motiv, maker of the world’s most popular smart ring, to bring digital identity signals to wearables for the first time and revolutionise the way people use technology to interact with the world around them.

“Wearables have yet to reach their full potential. They have been relegated to fitness and sleep tracking, when there are more profound purposes we should be aiming for,” said Denis Mars, co-founder and CEO of Proxy. “The existing wearable space is analogous to the flip phone days of the smartphone world. With the acquisition of Motiv, Proxy is igniting a paradigm shift in how people use wearables to interface with the physical world, so they can do and experience things they never have before.”

Proxy is known for its digital identity signal technology, emitted from mobile devices to replace the multitude of keys, cards, badges, apps, and passwords people typically need to interact with physical objects in the world around them. Motiv produced the stylish and innovative smart ring, featuring miniaturized circuits that biometrically authenticate users and connect the rings with devices around them. In the past two years, Motiv shipped approximately 80,000 of its rings to customers worldwide.

“We named our company Proxy because our identity signal technology acts as a person’s proxy in the physical world,” added Mars. “We started off providing identity signals via smartphone, because just about everyone has one. With the acquisition of Motiv, we are entering the next phase of advancing our identity signal technology towards wearables and beyond.”

Proxy’s interest in smart rings stems from the fact that the ring form factor, coupled with the biometric sensors packed into it, is constantly in physical contact with the person wearing it, providing a distinct advantage over smartphones.  This opens up new ways to augment humans in the physical and digital worlds, create powerful new experiences, and change the way people interact with their environment. Motiv had invested over $25M in developing its smart ring technology, said Mars, and it is best in class. “Proxy had planned to expand into wearables,” he said. “This acquisition helps accelerate our timeline to do that by at least a year.”

Proxy and Motiv were connected by their mutual investor Kleiner Perkins and originally discussed a technology partnership before deciding that an acquisition made more sense. Tejash Unadkat, CEO at Motiv, said, “We’re proud that Motiv’s technology lives on as the core of Proxy’s wearables strategy. Proxy has compelling plans for this space that bring the innovation in wearables to a completely different level. We’re excited to see how this space evolves in the coming months.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Proxy has acquired Motiv’s entire technology portfolio including patents and will retain the majority of Motiv’s employees. Motiv’s founders and CEO will stay on in an advisory capacity.

In March 2020, Proxy announced a $42M Series B round of funding intended to help the company expand its solution set and global footprint. Its move into wearables is an important element of that.

In the coming weeks, Proxy is adding support for Proxy identity signals to the next generation of the rings, to enable touchless workplace experiences for Proxy customers using either a smartphone or the ring.  Longer term, Proxy sees tremendous potential beyond the office for the wearable form factor.