Investments

Machine Learning Healthcare Startups Get $10M In Seed Funding

Bessemer Venture Partners is launching a $10 million early-stage seed program to back new startups in the healthcare industry.

According to TechCrunch, the company’s celebrity healthcare investor, Steve Kraus, and its head of investments in Israel, Adam Fisher, will lead the Deep Health Seed Program to invest anywhere between $100,000 and $2 million into startups using machine learning to solve problems in healthcare.

The firm has already invested in Qventus, a hospital management service, as well as healthcare companies such as Allena Pharmaceuticals, Docent Health, OvaScience, Verastem and Flex Pharma.

Bessemer will specifically be looking for investment opportunities in workflow automation startups like Qventus; digital diagnostics companies that augment or replace human diagnosticians with algorithms; and predictive and programmatic tools to measure and monitor population health.

In addition to announcing the new seed funding program, Bessemer also revealed its first investment in a company called Subtle Medical, which is focused on stroke and neurological disorders, improving the quality and speed of medical imaging exams by enhancing the use of lower-quality scans, which will remove the need for repeat imaging procedures.

“The opportunities for AI/ML in healthcare are extremely broad,” according to Kraus. “Healthcare is the largest segment of the economy, and nearly everywhere you look AI/ML can be applied to improve the cost, quality, and speed of the industry.”

Healthcare is a booming industry, with various companies looking to get in on developing new technology to make everything from cost and payments to diagnosis and pharmaceuticals easier for the consumer.

For example, just last month, it was revealed that Amazon has built a team to focus on making Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant more useful in the healthcare field. The division, called “health & wellness,” includes over a dozen people that will have the key task of working through regulations and data privacy requirements laid out by HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). The group is focusing on areas like diabetes management, care for mothers and infants and aging.

And last year, the eCommerce teamed up with drugmaker Merck for a competition where developers built Alexa “skills” to help people with diabetes manage their care.

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