Do you often find yourself sleep-deprived, despite dedicating long hours to rest in bed? If so, you’re not alone. The rise of sleep disorders has become a widespread concern that affects a significant portion of the global population, leaving countless individuals struggling with sleep deprivation despite their efforts to attain sufficient sleep.
While solutions are available to tackle this problem, Zaid Khan, CEO of M.I. Cloud, says that most of them are not tackling the problem at its root: the soft palate in our throat that is made up of five different muscles, connective tissue, and glands.
“When we sleep, the soft palate falls down and blocks the passage, creating the snoring sound. Moreover, it reduces our blood oxygen levels, so people still feel tired even when they think they have slept enough,” Khan said.
The magnetic interference cloud
M.I. Cloud takes a novel approach towards addressing this issue: magnetic fields.
The startup utilizes magnetic fields in a different way to how they enable the workings of compasses or electric motors. According to Khan, its device uses a unique magnetic interference cloud that “bends electrons in a circular motion”, while normal magnetic fields cause electron beams to bounce off in a straight line.
This magnetic interference cloud produced by M.I. Cloud’s device has a positive effect on blood circulation when positioned near any part of the body. For individuals with sleep disorders, placing the device inside or under the pillow would enhance blood circulation within the throat, toning up the soft palate and preventing it from obstructing the air passage while asleep.
The efficacy of the device has undergone several sleep study tests certified by reputable medical institutions including Singapore’s National University Hospital and Singapore General Hospital, proving its ability to enhance sleep quality. The startup’s technology has also undergone rigorous testing to comply with guidelines set out by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, minimizing magnetic field exposure from the device to prioritize the safety of users.
M.I. Cloud’s device also serves as a more affordable and non-invasive alternative to existing solutions on the market, such as mandibular advancement devices and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines.
A challenging start
The concept of M.I. Cloud’s technology was developed over 15 years ago by Khan’s co-founder, Yang Ping, and her late husband, Richard Chua.
Khan first met Yang while pursuing a master’s degree at the National University of Singapore. He learned about the concept when Yang pitched it as part of a course challenge to devise an idea that could generate USD 100 million in revenue within five years. Intrigued by the disruptive concept, they collaborated to bring the concept from idea to reality, introducing it to the commercial market.
With a lean team and limited resources, Khan and Yang’s journey in bringing the technology to market has, however, been filled with challenges, especially when trying to convince potential customers that its health effects are legitimate.
According to Khan, some individuals mistake the device for a variant of low-quality magnetic pillows that are commonly available in the market.
But they persevered and looked for avenues of external support, subsequently securing a spot in the NUS Graduate Research Innovation Program (GRIP), which laid the foundation of the startup’s success.
“The program provided us with invaluable mentorship, funding, and access to essential resources like office space and patent attorneys. With the support of NUS’s reputation and the programme’s resources, our startup gained momentum and attracted attention from investors,” Khan said.
M.I. Cloud also participated in the recent BRICS-Singapore Entrepreneurship Competition, emerging as one of the winners. This helped them to secure two media appearance opportunities offered by Channel NewsAsia, which raised awareness of M.I. Cloud and led to a substantial improvement in customer response rates.
A magnetized future
While M.I. Cloud’s primary focus remains on the sleep market, it has started to explore other applications of its magnetic field technology. One instance is a shoe insert device that could result in improved blood circulation. This development has significant potential for frostbite prevention and could benefit winter sports enthusiasts.
Moreover, M.I. Cloud is collaborating with medical professionals to leverage its technology for diabetic individuals. People with diabetes often experience foot wounds that heal poorly due to compromised blood circulation, leading to serious conditions like gangrene and potential amputation. M.I. Cloud intends to conduct a clinical trial comparing the effectiveness of its device against compression garments for diabetic patients. Proving the superiority of the health effects offered by its device could unlock a substantial market.
Looking ahead, M.I. Cloud is also considering its expansion into larger sleep markets, in particular the US market. By actively establishing stronger distribution networks and forging new partnerships, M.I. Cloud is positioning itself for continued growth and success.