Funding campaign to help people wake up to sleep

Irishman seeks $100,000 to market light-therapy and sleep-monitoring solutions


Limerick-born entrepreneur Fares Siddiqui is seeking to raise $100,000 (€89,000) via a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to bring his company’s Circadia light therapy and sleep monitoring solutions to market.

Mr Siddiqui (24), who was born and brought up in Limerick after his parents moved to Ireland from Pakistan to study medicine at Trinity College Dublin, is a recent participant in the Hax hardware accelerator programme, which is backed by engineer-turned-investor Sean O’Sullivan’s $250-million venture capital fund SOSV.

Circadia, the company co-founded by Mr Siddiqui and Michal Maslik, has come up with what it claims is the world’s first complete solution designed to adjust individuals’ internal body clocks using light based on feedback from their sleep.

By combining light therapy with a contactless sleep tracker, the solution helps people reset their circadian rhythms for a better night’s rest.

“Our devices help you retune your body clock to help you fall asleep quickly, wake up feeling refreshed and to boost your mood and concentration levels,” Mr Siddiqui said.

Sleep tracker

The Nasa-inspired technology comprises two devices: a contactless sleep tracker with 98 per cent accuracy and an adaptive light therapy lamp created by a team of designers, engineers and sleep scientists from Imperial College London, University of Oxford and Harvard Medical School.

The contactless sleep tracker collects data from the user overnight by using lab-tested sleep data to model the individual’s circadian rhythm. The model of the user’s circadian rhythm is then compared with their desired model to calculate the amount by which their circadian rhythms are out of tune. A personalised light therapy programme is then generated to retune internal rhythms.

“We’ve managed to improve people’s cognitive performance and reaction rates at work by over 30 per cent; have reduced the time it takes them to fall asleep to just seven minutes, compared to an average of 15; and have improved the quality of sleep by up to 25 per cent,” said Mr Siddiqui.

Circadia allows for integrations with smart-home platforms such as Nest, Alexa and IFTTT, so users can automatically set their bedroom to the optimal sleeping conditions. It is also integrated with fitness trackers such as FitBit.

Having been brought up in Limerick, the entrepreneur is now based in London, to which he moved to study mechanical engineering at Imperial College.

Mr Siddiqui said he was moved to create Circadia after personally experiencing sleep disruption over a number of years.

The start-up was established in January 2016 and accepted to the Hax accelerator programme in Shenzhen, China, eight months later. The solution is scheduled to ship in early 2018, with the products expected to retail for $149 for the contactless sleep tracker and $99 for the lamp.

The complete solution, which is available for $149 for a limited time via Kickstarter, is expected to go on sale for $189.