Kleiner Perkins and GV invest $21 million in AI health care startup Viz.ai | Tech Biz
Artificial intelligence (AI) health care startup Viz.ai has raised $21 million in a round of funding led by Kleiner Perkins, with participation form Alphabet’s venture capital arm GV.
Founded out of San Francisco in 2016, Viz.ai is setting out to leverage AI to detect early signs of time-sensitive medical conditions. The company’s first product is a software platform that analyzes brain scans for large vessel occlusions (LVOs), or strokes, and which received FDA clearance in February.
Someone has a stroke every 40 seconds in the U.S. alone, according to CDC data, culminating in 140,000 deaths annually. And those who survive a stroke often suffer a long-term disability as a result. One of the underlying issues relating to treating strokes is that they are difficult to diagnose in the first place, and the longer the patient goes without treatment the greater the chance they have of suffering disability or death.
Using deep learning algorithms, Viz.ai’s software analyzes CT scans to spot stroke indicators, and automatically alerts a neurological specialist. This all happens in minutes, which is crucial to the patient’s chances of a positive outcome.
Prior to now, Viz.ai had raised around $10 million in funding, and with another $21 million in the bank, it said that it plans to fund its expansion into new markets and grow the scope of its technology beyond strokes.
“In stroke every minute matters,” noted Viz.ai cofounder Dr. Chris Mansi. “Our goal is to fundamentally change healthcare, making it proactive rather than reactive. By integrating Viz, we believe health care systems can increase access to proven life saving therapy and reduce the time to treatment across their referral network.”
GV has a long history of investments in life sciences, having recently invested in medical research machine learning startup Owkin; clinical trial technology company Science 37; and next-gen vaccine development startup SpyBiotech. Google itself announced a new AI-focused venture fund last year called Gradient Ventures, made its first medical sciences investment this year as part of a $8 million funding round into BenchSci to accelerate biomedical discoveries.
Kleiner Perkins, for its part, has invested in a number of AI and healthcare startups, so marrying the two with its latest investment makes sense.
“We were attracted not only to the technology behind Viz.ai and its impact on patient outcomes, but also its adoption model,” added Kleiner Perkins general partner Mamoon Hamid. “Many new health-tech solutions struggle to gain traction because they are an outside-in sale to medical teams, requiring changes to procedures and workflows. In contrast, physicians and their teams are driving adoption of the Viz.ai platform because it is not disruptive to emergency room procedures and fits naturally into existing systems.”