Hapoalim leads $25m round in EarlySense

Avner Halperin  photo: Eyal Izhar

EarlySense will use the funds to expand into the home market with its patient sensors that are in widespread use in hospitals.

Patient monitoring device company EarlySense has raised $25 million in a financing round led by Bank Hapoalim (TASE: POLI), which invested in the company through its nostro account. Previous investors in the company, including JK&B Capital and Pitango Venture Capital, also participatedi in the round.

EarlySense has developed sensors placed under the mattress of hospital beds or within a chair that warn medical staff of deterioration in the patient's condition. Its sensors have US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Union (CE) certification. The company's previous investors also include strategic partners, such as Samsung, US medical devices company Welch Allyn, and giant Japanese corporation Mitsui.

EarlySense was founded in 2004. Its products have already been sold in the US for five years. The company's leading product is designed for the hospital market, but its products are also being marketed to senior citizens' homes and the home market. "Globes" selected EarlySense as one of its most promising startups in 2012.

The company does not report its revenue, profits, or losses, but given the length of time it has been in the market and its announcements of double-digit year-on-year growth percentages, its revenue can be put in the tens of millions of dollars. According to the company, its products monitored 80,000 people in 2015. EarlySense has raised $100 million to date.

EarlySense's product detects heartbeats, breathing, and sleep, and can warn of various situations, such as a dangerous slowing of breath, a sharp increase in pulse, irregular heartbeats or breathing, a fall from the bed, a prolonged absence from the bed (if the patient went to the bathroom and fell on the way, for example), etc.

EarlySense CEO Avner Halperin (husband of Antitrust Authority director general Adv. Michal Halperin) said, "To date, we have saved the lives of 300 patients, and saved 27,000 hospitalization days. One classic case is painkillers given in hospitals. Among a gcertain percentage of the patients, the painkillers cause breathing problems. If a nurse notices it during regular ward rounds, it could be after 3-4 hours, when catheterization is necessary. If the nurse misses this during his or her regular visit, and discovers it only after eight hours, the patient will not survive. If immediate warning is given, the problems can be solved with an injection."

In the hospital market, currently the company's main market, the company distributes its products both independently and through Welch Allyn, its partner. In the home market, EarlySense's partner is Samsung, and the company is also planning the launch of an independently marketed sensor. "The hospital market and the home market jointly constitute a $10 billion opportunity, and partners are needed in order to appeal to a market on this scale," Halperin says.

"Globes": Do you have competition?

Halperin: "This is always a difficult question. There is no competition from a sensor placed under the mattress. In the hospital market, there are sensors connected to the patient only in intensive care units, while our product is suitable for use in all wards.

"The home medical monitoring market is of course crowded with new products, so that when we first began, we asked ourselves whether it was worthwhile working there. Since then, however, we have seen that our products have a big advantage, for two reasons. One is that they do not require any daily action on the part of the patient, and the other is that the product has also been approved for use in hospitals. These two distinguishing characteristics give us a big advantage, and the financing round was designed, among other things, to increase our share of the home market."

Previously, EarlySense was planning an IPO in the US, but the offerings window of opportunity closed. "Every company in our stages is aiming at it," Halperin comments, "but it's a question of the right timing - both internal and external."

Halperin, Dr. Danny Lange, Dr. Guy Shinar, and Yossi Gross founded EarlySense. The company has 110 employees, including 85 in Israel. Its headquarters are in Israel, and its North American business is managed from an office in Boston. The company also has employees in South Korea, Germany, and Singapore.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 2, 2016

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2016

Avner Halperin  photo: Eyal Izhar
Avner Halperin photo: Eyal Izhar
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