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Size Matters as Health Wearable Players Embark on Survival of Fittest

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There comes a time when start-ups must face the big question -- to marry or to brave it alone? For digital health gadget players, the decision is becoming a matter of urgency. Suitors with big wallets are prowling onto the scene and rapidly transforming the game, literally, into survival of the fittest.

According to Woodside Capital Partners, global wearable technology shipments, including fitness devices, are expected to reach 126.1 million in 2019 from 19.6 million 2014.

This may indeed be why consolidation is already happening in an industry where the likes of Apple (AAPL - Get Report) , Fitbit (FIT) and Garmin (GRMN - Get Report) enjoy a strong presence. In a recent case, France's Withings announced it would sell its business to Nokia (NOK - Get Report) . Another example is Texas-based watch manufacturer Fossil Group (FOSL - Get Report) , which bought activity trackers Misfit in November 2015.

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"The big players are smelling a big market," said Jean Bourcereau, managing partner with venture capital Ventech.

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In the Withings case, a clear understanding of who they were appears to have made a difference for Nokia. Bourcereau attributed Withings' success to the co-founders' expertise in consumer electronics, which he believes health gadgets fall under before they eventually morph into a data industry.

"That means having a bit of money and a strong knowledge about the products before distributing them," said Bourcereau, who added that...


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