Business Snapshot: How Jawbone Built A Multi-Billion Dollar Business


As we approach Welltodo’s first Business of Wellness Summit on 4th June, we’re highlighting some of the global business leaders, entrepreneurs and investors involved in the event.

Shining the spotlight on brands that are shaping the wellness industry and influencing future trends, this week we’re focusing on wearable tech innovator, Jawbone.

Joining Welltodo at the BOW Summit, Bandar Antabi, VP and Head of Special Projects at Jawbone, will be taking part in a dynamic panel discussion focusing on the powerful convergence of technology and well-being.

Now 17 years old, Jawbone’s innovative and award-winning products are available in over 40 countries around the world and the business continues to build hardware products and software platforms recognised for their technical innovation.

Here we look at how the company has navigated numerous challenges, dominated three separate tech categories and raised over $400 million to become a world-leader in consumer technology and wearable devices.

1. Founded by Hosain Rahman and Alexander Asseily in 1999, under the operating name of Aliph, the pair began developing noise-cancelling technology for the U.S. military, so that soldiers could communicate clearly with each other under difficult conditions.

Quickly realising the consumer potential in their work, the savvy duo started to develop a mobile phone headset using noise shield technology, later unveiling the company’s first ever Jawbone headset at the consumer electronics and technology tradeshow, CES, winning over critics with its design-led aesthetic.

2. Following the sale of millions of its wireless bluetooth sets, in 2008 Aliph launched its second-generation product.

With a smaller and sleeker design, the groundbreaking new Jawbone was designed to look and feel like an accessory along the lines of jewelry and eyewear.  Featuring military-grade NoiseAssassin technology, with ten times better voice clarity than competing headsets, it transmitted 90% less noise, filling a huge gap in the market.

“When Aliph and AT&T launched the original Jawbone, a new standard was set for voice quality and design in Bluetooth headsets,” vice president of Product Management and Affiliate Marketing for AT&T’s wireless unit, Carlton Hill said at the time.

“Given the market response to the original Jawbone, we are thrilled to work with Aliph again to launch the new Jawbone, which once again promises to be one of the most innovative headsets in the marketplace.”

3. By 2010, Aliph had already unveiled a third edition of its Bluetooth headset, called Jawbone Prime, before releasing its first non-headset product, Jambox by Jawbone, the world’s first intelligent wireless speaker and speakerphone.

“Jawbone has been committed to providing the most advanced technology in compact and elegantly designed lifestyle products,” said Hosain Rahman, CEO and founder of Jawbone.

“JAMBOX is an extension of this commitment — we’ve combined cutting-edge innovations in acoustics and microcomputing into a meticulously crafted package. JAMBOX is not just a new kind of stereo speaker; it’s a whole new category of high quality mobile audio.”

Pioneering the convergence of style and functionality, the JAMBOX commanded 45% of the wireless-audio-speaker market by mid-2011, according to the NPD Group.

And investors took notice, as Jawbone secured  $70M in growth funding from J.P Morgan Asset Management, bringing total investment in Jawbone close to $170 million.

How Jawbone Built A Multi-Billion Dollar Business

Image: Jawbone

4. Now valued at over $1billion, Jawbone’s innovation was creating unprecedented demand for its products and services on a global scale.

So, the company, known for leading and disrupting categories with its breakthrough software, strong commitment to design, and award-winning products, decided to drop the Aliph name in favour of one of its most popular and original products, Jawbone.

5. Not content with dominating its existing product categories, Jawbone launched its first ever lifestyle tracking system, UP by Jawbone.

Diving head first into the health tracking category, the small wristband and accompanying app worked together to track the user’s daily activity, sleep patterns, and eating habits.

In just four weeks, UP users collectively took over three billion steps, got more than 300 years of sleep and captured hundreds of thousands of meals, as Jawbone looked on track to revolutionise the way consumers utilised technology to improve their health and fitness.

However, many users experienced issues with their UP bands,  forcing the company to issue refunds.

In a bid to recover from the controversy surrounding UP by Jawbone, Hosain moved quickly to rectify the situation, enlisting help from a team of engineers, designers and PR officers to help fix any problems.

Additionally, the entrepreneur made a bold move by issuing a personal apology. His statement soon became viral and he received messages of support from customers who felt a connection to the passion behind the brand.

6. In 2013, as part of its venture to cultivate the industry’s best talent in application development, user experience, and design, Jawbone acquired design and technology company Massive Health and innovative digital design firm Visere.

“Our union with Jawbone marks a major step toward revolutionizing the way the world thinks about health,” said Massive Health founder Aza Raskin. “Jawbone is leading the industry in product experience around mainstream consumer health, and we’re looking forward to working with the team to develop the next generation of beautiful experiences.”

Soon after, Jawbone acquired pioneer in wearable body monitors BodyMedia Inc., in a bid to accelerate technology innovation in Health & Wellness.

7. Continuing to push new boundaries, create new markets, and introduce consumers to the potential of wearable computing, in 2013, Jawbone launched the UP Platform for iOS.

Unveiling 10 apps including MapMyFitness, MyFitnessPal and RunKeeper, each easily integrated with UP, to help achieve the brand’s vision to create category-defining experiences, Jawbone recruited Mindy Mount (formerly of Microsoft) as president.

8. In 2014, Jawbone closed a huge $250 million round, at a valuation of $3.3 billion.

At the time, Forbes reported that new investors were betting on Jawbone evolving beyond just a fitness-band maker into a full-blown Internet of Things connector. While Jawbone began hiring software engineers and data scientists in an attempt to make applications to connect users with their UP devices in a more creative and functional way.

Additionally, the company began focusing on creating exciting content to reach its users and increase revenue from advertisers. The dream is that Jawbone’s device-to-services revenue mix will eventually be fifty-fifty, Rahman told Fortune.

With the next step centered on creating products that allow consumers to utilise their data more effectively, Jawbone is busy collecting data as it attempts to disrupt the wearable market once more.


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