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Eight Sleep Believes that If You Build Your Own Mattress, Sleep Will Come

The company created a customizable mattress and introduced an AI coach—all in pursuit of optimization.

Photography via Eight Sleep

If Cher had her way, we’d all sleep alone. Until then, Eight Sleep is rolling out more products and technology that adapt and respond to a person’s sleep cycle, preferred firmness and desired insights—even if that person shares a bed. The young startup values the “emotional connection” it shares with its customers who struggle to sleep and it has quickly leaped to the forefront of the bed-in-a-box industry, with 4 smart products now available. Eight Sleep also recently added an “AI coach” that uses machine learning to provide customers more precise direction on their sleep habits. The company’s fast-tracked growth is largely based on the ethos that precise insights will maximize deep sleep and that artificial intelligence will completely disrupt the healthcare industry. Quiddity spoke with Eight Sleep’s co-founder Matteo Franceschetti about customizable beds, manufacturing in China, and emulating tech founders.

What does innovation mean to your brand?
Innovation to us is taking the experience of how our customers sleep to a new level through technology.

What’s a recent change in consumer habits that motivated you to update a product or service?
First, comfort. Our customers love to gain visibility and knowledge of how they sleep. Second, we are using new metrics and information. We released the AI coach. Instead of just displaying graphs, the coach will compare this week’s comfort to last week’s and also compare it to your peers.

How does your company come up with new ideas?
Through customers. We spend a lot of time talking to them. We need to build what they need and create based on their responses.

If a person wants the mattress to be soft, and the other wants it to be hard, we can provide that.

What’s a new consumer group you’re targeting, and why?
Couples. We launched a customizable mattress, so the whole approach is not only through the one mattress itself. Couples have different preferences, and so we designed a mattress that can match the preferred firmness of each of the two partners. If a person wants the mattress to be soft, and the other wants it to be hard, we can provide that.

What’s another brand that you find particularly innovative, and why?
Tesla. It’s a brand that inspires us a lot because they keep innovating with beautiful design. They have products their customers love. And they are always on the most innovative side in automatic self-driving cars.

How do you encourage your staff to be innovative?
On Monday mornings, we have an all-hands that I run with the whole company. We watch a video from YouTube; it's always about innovators, most of them in the technology industry, from Jeff Bezos to Mark Zuckerberg. We’re trying to build culture—sometimes I think seeing successful people who are changing the world can be inspiring for our team, especially if they don't have time to watch these videos. This can be refreshing to explain why we are doing what we are doing.

How does an international staff contribute to your ability to innovate?
We have a manufacturing plant in China. China is really the best place in the world for manufacturing. Having 2 people working there full-time ensures we are always innovating, and that we are exposed to all the major innovation in the manufacturing industry.

What’s next for your work with AI?
AI and machine learning is the core of what we do as a company. That's what we live and breathe here. We see a world that in 5 to 10 years will be more and more driven by data, but data alone is not enough. AI will disrupt healthcare by applying the insights collected from data.

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