Pitango leads $15m round for medical device co EarlySense

The company has developed a system for contactless patient monitoring.

Hospital patient monitoring company EarlySense Ltd. has raised $15 million from current investors, led by Pitango Venture Capital. ProSeed Venture Capital Fund (TASE:PRSD), Docor International Management Ltd., JK&B, and Bridge Investment Fund also participated in the round. The financing brings the total amount raised by the company to $46 million in five financing rounds. Other investors include Challenge Fund - Etgar and the Makov family's Orange Blossom Ventures Ltd. (OBV), and private investors.

Following the round, Pitango managing partner Ittai Harel has been appointed co-chairman of EarlySense, serving alongside co-chairman Yossi Vinitski, a managing partner at Challenge Fund - Etgar.

Although EarlySense is entering the US hospital market, no new US investors or corporate funds participated in the current round.

"This is always a matter of deliberation," said EarlySense CEO Avner Halperin. "But we already fell close enough to the American market. Our investors get along with each other and with management, so it's good for us to keep our present structure and to simply raise more money to allow us to run."

In June, EarlySense recruited for its board of directors Peter Soderberg, who previously served as president and CEO of Hill-Rom Holdings Inc. (NYSE: HRC), the leading US maker of smart hospital beds and their monitoring systems. Soderberg has personally invested in EarlySense.

Hospital bed monitors

EarlySense has developed a system of sensors, which are placed on a flat surface beneath the patient's mattress. The system monitors the patient's breathing and movements. It is currently intended for monitoring patients in hospital's internal wards for whom there is currently no continuous monitoring. The EarlySense System warns when a patient is at risk and prevents his condition from deteriorating. This service is vital due to the steady decline in the number of patient visits by doctors and nurses and the increasing workloads at healthcare systems worldwide.

EarlySense was the runner-up as Israel's most promising start-up for 2012-13 by "Globes".

Six months ago, EarlySense CEO Avner Halperin said that the company intended to reach $100 million in sales within four years, and he has not backed down from this target.

EarlySense was founded in 2004 by serial entrepreneurs Danny Lange and Yossi Gross; Dr. Guy Shinar, a former executive at X Technologies; and Halperin, formerly VP marketing at Radcom Ltd. (Nasdaq: RDCM).

In an interview with "Globes" when EarlySense was named one of Israel's most promising start-ups, Halperin said that patients in intensive care wards were constantly monitored using expenses devices where are hooked up to them, but that patients in regular wards were not monitored at all. "There are studies which show that it is now more dangerous to have a heart attack when hospitalized at a cardiology ward than in the street," he said. "In hospital, no one sees you, especially in the US, where many patients are hospitalized - for their comfort - in private rooms, and families do not sit next them day and night."

In the next stage, EarlySense plans to enter the patient monitoring at assisted living facilities and home markets.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 12, 2012

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2012

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