Why we invested in Idoven, the leading cardiologist-as-a-service platform powered by AI
At Northzone, we are thrilled to announce our partnership with Idoven as we support the team on their journey to transform cardiology, by co-leading their $20m Series A together with Insight Partners and with support from existing investors.
Below are some of the highlights which drove our decision to invest, and why we are so excited to have the opportunity to support Manu, José María, Iñigo, Rika and the entire Idoven team.
Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death globally and constitute the largest driver of cost to the global healthcare system. The world’s population is growing, and growing older, with the 65+ age group expected to double in size over the next 20 years to 1.4bn people (UN). The number of individuals most at risk of cardiovascular diseases is increasing exponentially; however, the ratio of cardiologists relative to the population remains very low — a deficit that leads to reduced access to healthcare, increased costs for patients and providers, undiagnosed conditions and, most problematically, lives lost.
Idoven is transforming early diagnosis and intervention for cardiovascular diseases by leveraging AI to automate the analysis of electrocardiograms (ECGs), the most common test used to diagnose cardiovascular disease, the interpretation of which is a major strain on doctors’ time today. ECGs are also a common feature of clinical trials, and are required for cardiac safety testing and monitoring of medications, pre and post market approval. In fact, physicians in Europe spend approximately 1 million hours per day analysing patients’ ECG data, manually reading signals to identify these abnormalities and arrhythmias.
Idoven can drastically improve the efficiency of analysing ECGs by delivering medical-grade diagnoses in seconds instead of taking hours of a cardiologist’s time. Idoven’s cardiologist-as-a-service platform is a cloud-based solution that operates through original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and providers via APIs, processing the data being generated during an ECG, and delivering a clinical-grade report in seconds. By removing a major bottleneck in cardiology, its platform can deliver savings of 80–90% in cost and over 90% in time.
The pain point being addressed by Idoven is becoming more acute. As the population grows older and remote patient monitoring becomes more prevalent, the number and duration of ECGs is compounding. The fastest growing segment of ECGs are those of “long-duration”, meaning electrical activity that is monitored for 24 hours or more. Long-duration ECGs have become more common as advances in remote monitoring have allowed for patients to be discharged earlier, saving costs but also growing the need for efficient ways to monitor the vast data being generated. Other solutions in the market today are highly propense to false positives, creating a major challenge as patients are unnecessarily treated, and doctors spend hours undertaking a repetitive task where they are not adding value.
Meeting this demand through automated monitoring and diagnosis is crucial to free up doctors’ time, reduce costs for patients and HCPs and save lives. However, operating in a safety-critical environment requires extremely high accuracy and reliability, and only recent advances in computation and artificial intelligence have made automating diagnosis possible.
To tackle this challenge, Idoven has over years built the most comprehensive ECG database in the world, and developed a neural network with four hundred billion parameters capable of delivering diagnoses of medical grade accuracy. By leveraging deep learning, Idoven’s algorithm, Willem, detects more patterns of arrhythmias than any solution on the market, in seconds. Additionally, Idoven’s hardware agnostic approach creates a flywheel effect which benefits its algorithms, as exposure across all OEMs means more data, thereby constantly improving the accuracy and breadth of its models, and with it its defensibility.
As well as increasing cardiologist efficiency, Idoven is building the data and expertise necessary to develop predictive solutions which hold an outsized potential to improve patients’ outcomes. Advances in biomarker research and computation are making predictive algorithms for the prognosis of cardiovascular conditions (such as atrial fibrillation, pulmonary hypertension and sudden cardiac death) a reality. Idoven is at the bleeding edge of these developments, and has built strong academic foundations as shown by the team’s contributions to leading journals — giving it both the intellectual property and trust needed to spearhead this new frontier. In fact, Idoven has already shown it is capable of identifying meaningful predictive signals of sudden cardiac death up to 30 days in advance. Being able to flag diseases (i.e. identify biomarkers) in a way that is medically significant holds tremendous potential across consumers, HCPs, pharma and insurance.
We believe that as Idoven expands its applications, trends in healthcare and consumer behaviour will exponentiate the reach and impact of its technology. The explosion of consumer ECG data driven by wearables, such as the Apple Watch, Fitbit or Samsung, is increasing the ubiquity of data, improving the breadth and quality of analysis, and
bringing us closer to providing continuous monitoring on consumer grade devices. Lowering the barriers to entry for hundreds of millions of people to access the best digital cardiologist, at all times, would represent a major shift towards democratising care and furthering medical insights.
Idoven’s cardiologist-as-a-service platform solves major pain points for patients, providers, pharma, and hardware manufacturers, and the opportunities that lie ahead are thrilling. All of this is possible because of the people that make up Idoven: the team brings together an exceptional set of complementary qualities that we always look for but very rarely find. Deep expertise, an intimate understanding of what customers need, impressive operational experience, a strong technical focus and real passion. Manu as a renowned cardiologist and leader, José María as an AI expert in cardiology, Iñigo as a serial entrepreneur, and Rika as a seasoned operator. We feel very lucky to have the opportunity to partner with, learn from, and support such a strong and mission-driven team that is improving healthcare outcomes every day.
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