It’s Time to Sleep Better: Interview with Tomer Aharonovitch and Ophir Orenstein, Founders of NYX, our newest portfolio company

Improving sleep is one of the most well-proven paths to wellbeing.  NYX Technologies uses neurotechnology to improve sleep and reduce stress. Interview with Tomer Aharonovitch and Ophir Orenstein, Co-Founders of NYX, Joy Ventures’ newest portfolio company.

 Lack of quality sleep has been proven to be a key contributor to so many of our ills – stress, depression, heart health, memory, mental illness, physical health… pretty much everything.  As such, improving sleep quality and quantity holds tremendous potential to improve wellbeing for the many millions of people who have trouble sleeping, 30% and more of the population by some estimates.  Even for people who don’t suffer from insomnia, quality of sleep decreases dramatically over time: “At age 18, 30% of our sleep is deep sleep, by age 50 the average is 5%,” says NYX Co-Founder and CEO Tomer Aharonovitch.

NYX was co-founded in 2016 by childhood friends Tomer, who spent about three years leading the Technion’s entrepreneurship center startup accelerator, and Ophir Orenstein, the company’s CTO, who holds an M.Sc. in neuroscience from the Technion. Their Cognyx headband uses AI and a Neural Activation System (NAS) to read brain signals and send back personalized signals to safely induce sleep, without medication.

According to Tomer and Ophir, there is no product on the market like Cognyx, which uses electrical stimulation to induce sleep, monitors the electric activity of the user’s brain and creates a tailored experience.

As opposed to most sleep aid products and apps today, which use things like guided meditation, Cognyx “talks” directly to the brain through neural signals. “We cut out the middleman,” say Ophir.

But does it work?

Cognyx has already been tested over a thousand times, but some of the most interesting testers were the company’s first investors.  Tomer shares the anecdote of investors from as far away as Japan visiting the NYX office in Haifa and simply falling asleep in the chair right there in the office.

NYX today has eight employees.  The first Minimal Viable Product (MVP) is scheduled to be ready in 2020, with first clinical research results arriving at the beginning of 2020.  “The incubation, support and investment from Joy Ventures will be instrumental in helping us achieve these goals,” says Tomer and Ophir.

“We’re very excited about NYX,” says Liron Nunez Weissman, VP Portfolio Success at Joy Ventures. “Sleep quality has such tremendous potential to improve emotional wellbeing, that it fits right into our vision.  Tomer and Ophir are also highly driven founders who exemplify the combination we seek of capable entrepreneurs with a passion for improving wellbeing, along with a strong understanding in neuroscience.”

“Our collaboration with Joy goes back well before this current round,” say Ophir.  “We presented at the Joy booth at the last BrainTech conference and won the neurowellness vertical at the XTC competition which Joy sponsored.  Joy is doing important work in building the wellbeing tech ecosystem.”