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Spren: Using Heart Rate Variability for Peak Performance

Spren: Using Heart Rate Variability for Peak Performance

Spren’s mission is to bring the rich health insights of heart rate variability to the average person, unlocking new ways to track and improve daily performance

Using one’s heart rate to measure fitness performance is old news. But using heart rate variability, measuring the fluctuations of the milliseconds between each heartbeat, can provide new insights into daily performance. 

Spren (formerly Elite HRV) was founded in 2014 by Jason Moore, who had been working both in the energy and sensor industry and as a fitness instructor. He was looking for ways to measure the body’s capabilities and help inform better decision-making. After discovering heart rate variability research, he was drawn to its ability to track progress and make health decisions. 

Heart rate variability measures the actual time between each heartbeat. While most think of their heartbeat like a metronome, the variability between beats can convey a rich story about one’s health and performance. Measuring one’s heart rate variability during a resting state, such as immediately after waking up, can demonstrate how one’s body is operating based on sleep, nutrition, and training.

Spren founder Jason Moore

Moore realized that, while heart rate variability research had been around for fifty years, there were few affordable options for the average person. Using his tech background, he created an app and launched it on the App Store. Moore recalled, “Within a couple of months, I was getting called up by professional sports teams and gym owners, coaches, and researchers to come to their groups to tell them about HRV, how to use it, and why this tool could be valuable to them. That ended up spinning out into a whole venture where we’ve been able to serve now millions of people with this service.”   

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With many consumers either committed to their wearables or averse to the idea of buying separate products, such as heart straps, Spren focused on becoming device agnostic. Although they integrated the offerings with wearables, less than 3% of the population has a device capable of measuring heart rate variability. Spren Vision was born from the company’s desire to make the benefits of HRV accessible to even more consumers. The company developed Spren Vision as a mechanism to measure HRV through a simple software development kit (SDK), enabling apps to transform smartphone camera video feeds into raw biomarker data. 

Looking to the future, Spren is focusing on B2B partnerships and innovations. The company has already partnered with research facilities like New York Presbyterian, Harvard Medical School, and Weill Cornell Medicine, who have used Spren for studies on cardiovascular disease, autoimmunity progression, and sleep. The company is also now working with wellness brands, providing HRV insight and analysis through their platforms and applications. Spren opened up access to their biomarkers and insights through a simple API, giving partners insights and biomarkers that most benefit their consumer experiences. Internally, the company is also exploring options for going beyond just heart rate to respiration, body mass index, and other health indicators. With a mission to provide consumers more meaningful and personalized health experiences, Spren is democratizing heart rate variability insights.

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