Exo (pronounced “echo”), a pioneering health information and devices company, closed a $40 million Series B+ funding round that will fund research and product development on a revolutionary handheld medical device and cloud-based workflow software platform.
Medical imaging technology has lagged far behind the needs of today’s emergency room physicians and the expectations of healthcare patients. Cost, portability, image quality, software constraints and the inability to image denser body compositions have all limited the dramatic impact that critical diagnostic tools like ultrasound can have on global health and patient care.
Exo is developing a handheld ultrasound device that is intended to solve these common imaging challenges and unlock the true potential of handheld ultrasound. By building on patented Piezoelectric Micromachined Ultrasound Transducer (pMUT) technology, the Exo device aims to deliver industry-leading image quality, intuitive software and powerful diagnostic capabilities. This technology is designed to be affordable and enable best-in-class medical imaging to be carried in the pocket of every caregiver and clinician worldwide.
The worldwide point of care ultrasound market is forecast to reach $1.5 billion in 2024 and grow at 9.5 percent annually, according to industry analyst Klein Biomedical Consultants. Handheld ultrasound is forecast to lead the industry’s growth.
“Emergency room physicians around the world are often tasked with solving some of the most urgent health care problems — COVID-19 diagnosis and complications, cardiac emergencies, internal bleeding — without being able to see clearly into a patient they only have minutes to diagnose and treat,” said Exo CEO Sandeep Akkaraju. “Exo plans to give these critical frontline heroes the device they need — one that immediately opens up a window into every body and enables them to make speedy, accurate and often life-saving medical decisions on the spot.”
Exo will use its Series B+ funding to bring its data and workflow apps to market and finish product development on its handheld ultrasound device. Exo’s Series B+ funding follows a successful Series B round in August 2019 which raised $35 million, bringing the company’s total funding to nearly $100 million. The Series B+ funding was important, especially during a Coronavirus pandemic that has overloaded hospital resources and created an urgent need for innovative imaging technology to be more widely accessible by frontline workers. Fiscus Ventures and Reimagined Ventures (Magnetar Capital affiliates) and Action Potential Venture Capital led the investment, with additional participation from TDK Ventures, Solasta Ventures and all previous investors, including Intel Capital, Applied Ventures, Bold Capital, Creative Ventures, Longevity Vision Fund, Fiscus and Reimagined Ventures, Nautilus Venture Partners, OSF Healthcare, Rising Tide Fund, Innovation Growth Ventures, and Wanxiang Healthcare Investments.
“Exo’s proprietary pMUT technology will enable the company to make a global impact on its mission to improve access to ultrasound and improve patient care” said Anil Achyuta, Investment Director at TDK Ventures.
Exo’s ability to pack the highest quality image technology in an affordable, handheld device comes from a team with deep experience in sensors, software and miniaturization technologies. The company is staffed by a team with executive-level technology and medical device experience from companies including Apple, GE, Google, Johnson & Johnson, Maxim, Medtronic, and Siemens. Exo’s proprietary pMUT imaging technology can provide superior image fidelity and is intended to ultimately work with a wide range of body types that can be difficult to image with traditional handheld ultrasound technology.
“As both an emergency room physician and a venture capitalist, I know firsthand the transformative potential of the products that Exo is bringing to market,” said Dr. Ted Koutouzis of Fiscus and Reimagined Ventures, who also works as an emergency room doctor at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. “The Exo team is focused on building a device that works seamlessly within the often chaotic and urgent environment of a hospital, and delivers the image quality, clean interface, and diagnostic tools that doctors have dreamed about having in the palm of our hands. These devices coupled with the Exo enterprise software solution should begin to allow us to change the clinical paradigm of emergency medicine ultrasound.”
Exo will pair its handheld ultrasound device with workflow apps in an effort to solve chronic issues within hospitals and clinics. Software has long been a pain point for physicians in busy emergency rooms, where the lack of interoperability and cumbersome documentation slows down patient care and distracts physicians from critical medical emergencies.
Beyond its software and medical device launch, Exo has even more ambitious plans to create a platform for medical technology convergence — where a variety of diagnostics and therapeutics can all be administered through a multi-functional device.
Investor Action Potential Venture Capital, a GlaxoSmithKline venture fund, is specifically focused on backing bioelectronic medicine innovators — companies advancing a field of precision therapeutics where nerve activity is modulated through minimally or non-invasive devices to treat a range of debilitating chronic diseases.
“Exo is creating a platform technology that can drive true adoption of point of care imaging in emergency rooms and critical care units, can facilitate advanced surgical robotics and endoscopic procedures, and could enable therapeutic modalities in non-invasive neuromodulation and drug-delivery,” said Juan-Pablo Mas of Action Potential Venture Capital. “APVC is proud to support the team as they unwaveringly serve the healthcare professionals and patients whom this technology can benefit most.”