Viz.ai, a healthcare startup that’s using artificial intelligence (AI) to help medical professionals spot early signs of stroke, has raised $50 million in a series B round of funding led by Greenoaks, with participation from Alphabet’s VC arm GV and Kleiner Perkins.
In the U.S. alone, someone has a stroke every 40 seconds, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), culminating in some 140,000 deaths each year — or 1 in every 20 deaths. Moreover, those who survive a stroke often suffer long-term disability as a result.
As with many medical conditions, early stroke detection is the key to treating and negating the impact of strokes, but they can be difficult to diagnose. And even then, coordinating treatment among the various specialists can cause unnecessary delays. Viz.ai is looking to help in both areas.
Founded in 2016, Viz.ai has developed deep learning algorithms to analyze brain scans for large vessel occlusions (LVOs), a disabling type of stroke. Viz.ai’s software can spot stroke indicators and automatically alert a neurological specialist within minutes, which could prove crucial to the patient’s chances of a positive outcome. Through a mobile interface, Stroke teams can liaise in real time to analyze scans and decide on the most suitable course of treatment. It’s all about “synchronizing stroke care,” as Viz.ai puts it, to reduce what it calls “systemic delays.”
In effect, Viz.ai is as much about improving communication and optimizing the broader medical workflow as it is about specifically spotting suspected LVOs.
“Viz.ai’s mission is to improve access to lifesaving treatments,” said Viz.ai CEO Chris Mansi in a press release. “In [a] stroke, by saving time for the hospital system, we can achieve significant cost savings for the payer and most importantly, improved outcomes for the patient.”
AI in healthcare
As in most industries, AI is increasingly making its mark in the healthcare realm — and investors are opening their wallets to back the technology. In the past month alone, London-based Kheiron Medical Technologies has raised $22 million for machine learning that helps radiologists detect cancer earlier, while Cambridge, U.K.-based Healx has secured $56 million for an AI system that seeks to discover new drug treatments for rare diseases.
Viz.ai’s inaugural product received FDA clearance last year and is now in use in more than 300 hospitals across the U.S.
“We see Viz.ai as the future of how healthcare is delivered,” added Greenoaks’ Neil Shah. “With rising costs and more focus on value-based care, there needs to be an emphasis on delivering the highest quality care in the shortest amount of time while reducing costs.”
Viz.ai, which has hubs in San Francisco and Tel Aviv, had previously raised $30 million in funding, including its $21 million series A round last year that saw GV and Kleiner Perkins once again join forces. With another $50 million in the bank, the company is well financed to expand its software into more locations.
“This round of funding will enable us to expand the benefits of synchronized care to more disease states and geographies, democratizing the quality of healthcare globally,” Mansi said.