Israeli early stage AI healthcare companies Beyond Verbal and Healthymize, which both analyze and process information from the voice, are merging and raising $9 million. The leading investor in the financing round is life sciences venture capital fund aMoon, led by Marius Nacht and Dr. Yair Schindel. The merged company will be called Vocalis Health.
The idea is that the human voice contains information about a person's health, just as it reflects his or her mood and personality, was proposed by Beyond Verbal entrepreneur Dr. Yoram Levanon in 2005. New developments in recent years, such as smartphones with a built-in voice recording capability, the ability to process a great deal of information, and artificial intelligence algorithms, have made this idea commercially feasible.
Beyond Verbal, officially founded in 2011, is managed by CEO Tal Wenderow, a former senior executive at Corindus Vascular Robotics, sold to Siemens Healthineers for $1.1 billion. Among Beyond Verbal's investors are Sami Sagol, the Singulariteam fund, VI Ventures, and the investment fund of Chinese corporation Kuang-Chi Technologies. Yuval Rabin was also involved in founding Beyond Verbal.
Beyond Verbal developed the technology, which has diverse applications, including a CRM system that analyzes a customer's mood as part of customer service and sales talks. The technology is also useful as a market research tool. The company's third sphere of activity is health, on which it is currently focusing.
Healthymize was founded in 2015 by Dr. Shady Hassan and electrical engineer Dr. Daniel Aronovich, with support from Dr. Rafi Gidron, a cofounder of Chromatis and a founder of a chain of Israeli brain science companies. Healthymize is a medical company that has developed a system for using voice to monitor respiratory diseases.
The merged company will work on diagnosis of respiratory and cardiac diseases and depression, among other things.
"The merger of Beyond Verbal and Healthymize sets a precedent for early-stage start-ups in the Israeli market," says aMoon managing director Roy Wiesner, who led the investment. He explains, "We quickly realized the opportunity of combining forces by leveraging their joint datasets, pipelines, strengths and talents, to create a leader in the vocal biomarkers space."
Wenderow and Hassan will both be executives in the merged companies: Wenderow as president and CEO and Hassan as CMO and COO. The company believes that it will launch its first commercial product in 2020.
Healthymize and Vocalis Health were represented by Advs. Guy Lachmann and Ilana Soloducho Kashmir of the Pearl Cohen law firm.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 11, 2019
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