We take a look at this week’s biggest developments, research and investment news from the world of Health Tech.
Startup Carbon Health has secured its first round of venture funding with $6.5 million, led by BuildersVC, with Javelin Venture Partners, Two Sigma Venture, and Bullpen Capital contributing towards the round. The funding will be used to continue developing their digital platform and start rolling out its use through partnership with Northern California provider networks. Carbon Health’s ambition is to be the largest virtual health system – 100 percent mobile – by integrating with provider networks and their payers as well as pharmacies, labs and all the backend technology that goes into healthcare delivery.
Mary O’Brien, CEO and Co-Founder of VideoDoc, expressed how there’s an ever-growing portfolio of App and digital solutions being presented by health-tech companies to tackle long waiting times for patients, ultimately reducing the pressure on the NHS. Mary added, “Looking at the UK’s work force, 130 million days are lost to absenteeism, costing the economy £100 billion a year. By introducing a telemedicine solution into a company, it can help to cut the level on absentees as well as getting employees back to work quicker than if they had to wait to see a GP.”
Optolexia, which makes a digital test to screen for dyslexia in children, has raised $5.6 million (5.2 million euros) in a round led by Segulah CEO Gabriel Urwitz. The funds will be used to launch Optolexia’s service into the US. The company’s digital tool consists of eye-tracking software that uses AI to screen for dyslexia, giving children short pieces of text to read on a screen whilst a camera records their eye movements. “We see great potential in Optolexia,” Urwitz said to Swedish tech publication DI Digital. “This is a Swedish company that combines science and technology in a unique way to create social benefit and, most importantly, improves the prospects for all young people who are struggling with reading and writing.”
LiveSmart, a London-based startup that offers a platform to help employees track and improve their health, has raised £700,000 in funding. Competing with traditional offerings from companies such as Bupa and Nuffield, LiveSmart combines employee health screening with health coaching, as described by founder Alex Heaton. The idea is around to gather data from various tests offered, as well as other sources, such as fitness trackers, and use this to encourage actual behaviour change. “Most people that have had a health screen go on to do very little if anything as a result, our coaching program delivers measurable results,” Heaton adds.
Japanese network NTT is developing ‘Dietary Content Recognition Technology’, the wrist wearable designed to estimate what the wearer is eating by analysing the movements of their arm. The tech involves gathering data from an accelerometer and gyroscope inside a wearable, tracking the different frequency of arm movements a person makes depending on what type of food is consumed. The tech has already been testing on meals such as bread, sushi and pasta, which was able to correctly recognise each food.
Stockholm, Sweden-based Pond Healthcare Innovation, maker of smartphone-connected spirometer Air Smart, has raised $2.1 million (2 million euro) through a seed funding from Swedish investment company Spiltan. Air Smart is a small, portable spirometer with a sleek design, which connects to a smartphone via the audio jack allowing users to export their data to share with a physician via PDF, costing 69 euros ($73). Pond Healthcare Innovations will use the funding to build out its team, whilst continuing to develop its produce and increase commercialisation efforts.
Samsung NeuroLogica and MedyMatch Technology have teamed up to help paramedics and EMTs more quickly by accurately assessing stroke patients in prehospital environments. Using MedyMatch’s artificial intelligence technology of ambulance-based mobile stroke units with Samsung NeuroLogica’s CereTom computed tomography scanner, the companies say first responders can more effectively use CT scans to determine whether a patient is suffering from blood clot or haemorrhage. The AI integration, which is pending regulatory approval, could buy valuable time on the way to the hospital, sending images to a cloud-based server where machine learning technology can be applied to help determine where the bleeding is occurring.