The news: Wavely Diagnosis, a Seattle-based startup developing a smartphone app to detect ear infections, raised $2.2 million to launch and market its product. The app is linked to virtual care options.
Technology : by Wavely diagnostic app uses acoustic signals to detect signs of ear infection through a paper funnel placed at the opening of the ear canal. If a child shows signs of a possible ear infection, caregivers can connect to a virtual care physician who has the ability to prescribe treatment. Wavely “will allow parents to move the number one cause of millions of doctor visits – ear infections – to virtual visits,” the CEO said. Arna Ionescu Stoll in A declaration Tuesday announcing the funding.
The people: The co-founders of Wavely are Randall Blypediatric otolaryngologist and assistant professor at Seattle Children’s Hospital, and Shyam Gollakotaprofessor of computer science and engineering at the University of Washington.
Gollakota is also a co-founder of Sound Life Sciences, which recently received clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration for its sonar-based app to monitor respiration. Gollakota and his colleagues also developed an acoustic method to monitor heart rate via a smart speaker like Alexa, and invented a device to detect opioid overdoses and inject an antidote. Gollakota has previously been featured on GeekWire’s Health Tech Podcast.
Stoll was previously the founder and director of Triody, a start-up consulting firm. Previously, she was Vice President of User Experience and Design at Proteus Digital Health.
The research: Bly and Gollakota previously published a study with their UW colleagues introducing an acoustic method to detect fluid in the middle ear, which limits the mobility of the eardrum. The study used a smartphone microphone and speaker to emit sound and analyze its reflection in the eardrum.
And after: The funding will fuel the market entry of the ear infection product, first with parents and other home consumers, and then with healthcare partners. The 7-employee startup aims to grow to 25 this year.
Wavely is also developing other smartphone-based medical diagnostics. “Wavely’s platform has the powerful potential to enable access to medical diagnostics from the comfort of patients’ homes,” said Fried Naomimanaging partner at Ambit Health Ventures, who led Wavely’s investment round. Parents can now register for early access to the ear infection app when it was launched.
Supports : The new seed funding follows a previous round of $2.2 million last year and $275,000 in grants raised since 2019. In addition to Ambit, participants in the new funding round are WXR Fund, WRF Capital, Cascade Seed Fund, Gaingels Spark Fund, HealthTech Capital, Wealthing VC Club, Purpose Built VC, Vantage Partners Texas, Crosstimbers Capital Group and angel investors.