[Funding alert] Deeptech healthcare startup Oivi raises $500K in pre-seed round led by Arali Ventures

Founded in 2017 by Anders Eikenes, Khaleel Udyawar, Jukka Alasirniö, and Hans Einar Øverjordet, Oivi will use the funding for further product R&D and to drive adoption.

Norway and Bengaluru-based Oivi, a deeptech healthcare startup focused on early detection of Diabetic Retinopathy (DR), has raised a pre-seed round of $500,000 from investors in Norway, Netherlands, China, and India

The round was led by India-based deep tech venture capital investor Arali Ventures LLP (Arali), and included participation from marquee angels from India. In a statement, Oivi said its vision was to democratise early detection of DR, and this financing round would help further R&D and product development, early patient testing, and understand the need being filled in the global market, starting in India.

Rajiv Raghunandan, Managing Partner from Arali Ventures, said, 

“The Oivi team has a proven track record bringing dozens of camera- and electro-optical sensor systems from idea stage to mass production in multiple industries. Drawing on this vast experience, the team has created a novel optics and illumination engine capable of providing retinal imaging with unprecedented image quality, given its small form factor. The embedded neural compute chip, which is hosting Oivi´s proprietary deep learning algorithms, allows for pupil tracking that will enable fully automated retinal image capture, and also screening for diabetic eye diseases.”

“We believe Oivi has embarked on a journey, which will make substantial impact among the world ́s half a billion diabetics, and we're proud to be early backers and part of this journey.” he added.

According to the startup, DR affects more than 160 million people worldwide and is the most common cause of blindness among people with diabetes. However, early detection and intervention can successfully prevent vision-loss from DR by up to 95 percent.

Oivi is catering to this unmet need by developing a hand-held screening device that automates the retinal image capture, allowing for deployment in primary care and requiring minimal training. The company was founded in 2017 by Anders Eikenes, Khaleel Udyawar, Jukka Alasirniö, and Hans Einar Øverjordet

Commenting on their goals, the founders said,

“Oivi's vision is to eliminate unnecessary blindness by providing a low-cost camera for retinal screening, with fully automated image capture and diagnostics. Oivi wants to eradicate blindness among patients with diabetes, scanning every eye, detecting early signs of DR, while helping ophthalmologists focus more on treatment instead of screening for DR and manually scrutinising retinal images.”

Arali is a seed fund focused on providing product build and early scale capital to enterprise technology ventures serving the Indian and global markets. In August 2019, it led a Rs 5.5 crore seed funding round in a Bengaluru-based robotics deep tech startup, CynLr, with participation of Speciale Invest.

(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)


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