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Ocular diagnostics startup Broadspot raises $7.5M

10 Oct 2017

California firm backed by Phoenix Venture Partners and 'syndicate of leading ophthalmologists'.

Broadspot Imaging, a medical diagnostics startup company with claimed expertise in optics, says it has raised $7.5 million in a series A round of venture funding.

Based in Richmond, California, Broadspot is developing a range of low-cost, high-resolution imaging devices and related software services aimed at ophthalmology applications. The funding round was led by San Mateo's Phoenix Venture Partners (PVP), with contributions from Camino Real Capital Partners and earlier angel investors, including some ophthalmology experts.

Cheaper, better eye care
Broadspot CTO and co-founder Tushar Ranchod – a practicing eye surgeon in the Bay Area - said in a company release: “We see our investors as partners on our mission to make medical eye care better, more accessible and less expensive.”

Described as a disruptive imaging platform, the company’s approach is said to leverage novel optics technologies to deliver cheaper and much smaller diagnostic devices, compared with the typically bulky ophthalmic equipment used for ocular diagnostics. It believes that this will both expand patient access and improve the efficiency of medical examinations in existing eye care settings and beyond.

Zachariah Jonasson, managing general partner at key investor PVP, says that Broadspot’s approach has the potential to dramatically expand patient access to eye examinations, and to enable the diagnosis of other medical conditions not traditionally thought of as ophthalmic.

Following the funding round, Jonasson has become a member of the company’s board of directors, joining early investor and Finisar co-founder Frank Levinson, and former Carl Zeiss Meditec CEO Jim Taylor.

Levinson, who is now general partner at PVP, said: “What sets Broadspot apart from other startups is the strength of their team. In addition to their established clinical and market experience, they are effectively weaving together complex optical system design with innovative electronic hardware, clever mechanical design and graceful user-centric software.”

Demographic change
The company reckons that it will be able to dominate a new category of ophthalmic and optometric diagnostic devices and services that will transform the diagnostic business model and expand technology access into substantial new markets – at a time when demographic ageing is expected to result in a significant escalation in eye care needs.

Though it has revealed little in the way of specific details of its technology, Broadspot claims on its web site: “Our technologies will fundamentally improve how eye care is delivered worldwide: eye doctors can see patients more efficiently, for less money, and more patients will gain access to high-quality diagnostics as the population ages.”

US patent 8,596,788B2 – filed by Ranchod and assigned to Broadspot several years ago – suggests that the technology could be geared towards anterior ocular imaging, for example to measure a patient’s “iridocorneal” angle, an indicator of glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and other conditions.

Started up by Ranchod in 2013, Broadspot raised a small amount of debt finance in September 2016. Since then, it has hired ex-Allergan and Alphaeon executive Bart Bandy as its CEO, while former Finisar engineering chief Mark Farley has joined as VP of engineering.

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