Sleep is a health imperative and if you don’t get enough, the economic impacts are costly. Insufficient sleep has an estimated economic impact of more than $411 billion each year .
In the USA alone, a lack of sleep results in unplanned absences from work that cost the U.S. economy over $44.6 billion each year. Drowsy driving is also responsible for more than 6,000 fatal car crashes every year in the USA.
It is estimated that fifty to seventy million Americans suffer from a disorder of sleep and wakefulness, hindering daily functioning and adversely affecting health and longevity (NHLBI, 2003). Questions about sleep are seldom asked by physicians, for example, about 80 to 90% of adults with clinically significant sleep-disordered breathing remain undiagnosed.
Failure to recognize sleep problems not only precludes diagnosis and treatment—it also impacts of preventing grave public health consequences. For many people, stress, worry, depression, or work schedules may affect their sleep. For others, sleep issues are due to a sleep disorder such as insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless legs syndrome.
Sleep issues affect people of all ages, and their impacts touch many parts of our lives.
A good night’s sleep refreshes us to take on the next day with energy and focus. Its like an empowerment smoothie. Unfortunately, many people have sleep problems and don’t get the rest that they need and the numbers are increasing year over year.
Bottomline we have an opportunity to improve this reality and Loftie is one of the most interesting companies I have come across in my continual hunt for AI innovators making our world a better place.
Founded by Matthew Hassett in 2018, his early vision was that he really wanted to help people people spend less time on their phones, which is really hard to do. Loftie’s first iteration was pretty much an early version of the app “Screen Time” that Apple would release later. It was prototyped at the New York office of the design firm IDEO, where Matthew was an entrepreneur in residence. However, a smart pivot moved Loftie to focus on the alarm clock was this neglected piece of tech after the advent of the iPhone.
Working through many innovation ideation sessions, his team realized that no one had really thought about designing a better version of an alarm clock since the 1980s. The result was inventing the Loftie Clock which is as much about winding down at night as it is about waking up in the morning. Now enabled with rich wellness content, a white noise machine, and personalized bedtime stories all easily accessible.
His CTO, Ryan Rhodes, wrote the code for Storymaker and took what Matthew had been doing as an early proof of concept, that was not at scalable and he was instrumental in driving the company to now have over 80,000 customers using Loftie Clocks and bedtime stories are a major selling feature.
The company’s mission has always been to support healthy sleep and elevate the way people experience rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation.
Matthew as a young child loved reading bedtime stories as he has many fond memories of his father reading to him as a child. From “Two Minute Mysteries” to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, bedtime stories have also been ticking in Matthew’s brain. Having interviewed and working with so many entrepreneurs over the years, the patterns formed early often manifest in some fashion as life’s journey continues. Matthew’s love of stories simply had to continue in founding Loftie.
When asking Matthew about his biggest mentor as young entrepreneur need guidance, he attributes with great pride, his mother Carol Melton, who prior ran public policy at Time Warner and Viacom. His mom is an early stage investors as well as friends. At this stage, they have raised $3M USD, combination of debt and equity and have focused on love money and organic growth to propel the company forward.
Every early stage software company must have a reason for being, a passionate pulse that enables the CEO to wake up every morning to advance his or her dream. In Matthew’s case, his vision is rooted in these words:
“Recognizing that quality sleep underpins every aspect of our existence, we create products that help everyone experience their most restorative sleep, fostering happiness, fulfillment, improved health, and mental well-being. The majority of investment dollars in the sleep industry goes to products without real innovation (like most mattresses) and then of course, of late, there has been significant investment in tracking sleep by companies like Oura and Whoop. But even interstitial devices like Levels or InsideTracker, which deliver real-time blood data about glucose and sleep, do not make sleep better. They make the user smarter, and give you homework for your future, but they cannot change your real environment. Loftie brings that level of innovation and investment to in fact making sleep better.”
Sleep is like a miracle drug.
We know you can’t have solid nutrition or lasting fitness without good sleep, that it can ward off conditions like Alzhemeir’s and diabetes. We now have research as recent as 2022 (and 2021) showing good sleep can predict more fulfilling romantic relationships and kids of better-rested parents have improved childhood development. Consider Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs: when your physiological needs aren’t met – the pyramid’s foundation – that compounds all the way up to reduced feelings of belonging, esteem, and self-actualization.
Matthew like many of us fully immersed and living in the Attention Deficit Economy are well aware that humans simply are not getting enough sleep, as we are addicted too often to our phones and screens. As a matter of fact our attention span since the advent of mobile has declined year over year, in 2012, that attention time span had shrunk to 75 seconds, by 2021, it was 47 seconds, however a Microsoft research study said we had dropped to 10 seconds, less than a goldfish.
Researcher, Gloria Mark, PhD, of the University of California Irvine, frequently talks about how the internet and digital devices have affected our ability to focus, why multitasking is so stressful, and how understanding the science of attention can help us to regain our focus when we need it. See her recent book, Attention Span.
Being alert to one’s moods daily also helps to reflect on one’s sleep patterns using a daily check in with products like MoodInsights, Calm, or Headspace.
What is Loftie doing in applying AI?
It all started when Matthew was using ChatGPT on writing copy for ads and first drafts of emails. One day he was writing a blog post about a story written by one of our former employees. He gave ChatGPT the background of what she had written and why and then he pasted in the story itself. ChatGPT basically retold the story and created the spark for writing bedtime stories, using ChatGPT and cranking the heat up. “Temperature” is ChatGPT’s name for the degree of free association and creativity in the responses. So Matt’s business model is now advancing into creating more story telling content.
By empowering users to provide their own unique story ingredients, such as names, places, and more, this cutting-edge feature conjures one-of-a-kind bedtime stories, tailor-made for every individual. Within a mere minute, written AI and voice AI collaborate seamlessly to transform these ingredients into captivating narratives that are then reviewed by the Loftie team to ensure delightful and appropriate storytelling. Loftie’s dedication to delivering a truly human and immersive experience is reflected in its voice technology that is actually based on authentic voices of friends of the brand. Unlike conventional AI assistants, Loftie’s voices exude realism and warmth, offering a distinctive and engaging auditory journey.
The Loftie Clock is designed to help everyone everywhere sleep deeply, wake up refreshed, and kick the smartphone out of the bedroom.It comes equipped with an ever-growing catalog of free audio content including soundscapes, meditations, white noises, and guided breathwork, a two-phase alarm that mimics your body’s natural waking process, and a gentle night light with dimmable display. Their newest feature has the magical stories and allows you to fall asleep to a peaceful tale about your past life, board an enchanting snowy train ride through Norway with your loved ones.
Being a successful entrepreneur requires being alert to one’s competitors.
The company that Loftie is most often compared to is Hatch , but Loftie holds its own in the consumer reports. Hatch began as a company making products for babies and their parents, whilst Loftie began focusing on the adult market and are just now introducing a children’s line.
Key differentiators of Loftie is that it offers far more personalized content and there are only nine sounds on the Hatch Restore, unless you pay for the subscription, which is $50 a year. Loftie offers more than 100 different sounds and wellness tracks on the Loftie Clock, and new content is released regularly, and that’s all included with the purchase price.
I always ask the CEO’s in these exclusive interviews what lessons they are learning so other entrepreneurs can also learn about innovation.
Matt’s lesson’s learned are best shared in his words. “I still struggle to adhere to myself, but it’s that your health and well-being are paramount and without that, there will be no company because in early stage companies, it really is about the founder. This is not me being egotistical. You just have to do so many different jobs and work long, long hours. I just think that’s very hard to fill that role until you’ve got stable revenue and, in most cases, profitability.
Passionate, passionate curiosity. If you think you know something fully, you’re already wrong. Ask around. Make time for learning. Build an ego-free mind. It sounds contrarian, but confidence is not ego. You have to be good at so many different roles as a founder and CEO. It’s so much easier to just interrupt and say, “I have no idea what that acronym means, can you please explain?”
Henry David Thoreau wrote, “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify.” I’m not moving to Walden Pond anytime soon, but I agree. Simplify complexity. Your job becomes ruthlessly prioritizing and making the NEXT right decision, not projecting into the future. It’s funny – your work takes place at a bigger scale, but your decisions can be faster and shorter term.
As Matt, looks ahead, he recognizes, he needs million in capital to scale, or perhaps its time to sell out to market leaders like SONOS, Calm, or Headspace – or even Amazon or Google.
Young T, Evans L, Finn L, Palta M. Estimation of the clinically diagnosed proportion of sleep apnea syndrome in middle-aged men and women. Sleep. 1997b;20(9):705–706. [PubMed]
More about Loftie
Loftie+ is the premium subscription offering from Loftie, delivering a plethora of personalized content directly to the highly acclaimed Loftie Clock. From captivating bedtime stories inspired by books, movies, and places to horoscopes and education-rich mini podcasts, Loftie+ presents the first-ever personalized content subscription of its kind, by embracing an innovative approach to AI integration. Subscribers can unlock unlimited access to personalized content for only $4.99 per month or enjoy a discounted annual rate of $49.99 when paid upfront.