Health/Life Sciences

Stealthy digital well being startup Measure Labs elevating money for distant care tech

From left: Measure Labs’ CEO Jamien McCullum, CSO Matt Whitehill and CTO Eric Chen. (Measure Lab Photos)

The news: A quiet Seattle digital health startup called Measure Labs is raising cash. A new regulatory filing shows $4.7 million raised. Update, Jan. 27: Measure Labs has confirmed the funding amount with GeekWire, and said that the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2) is an investor. The company declined to provide further information.

What we know: In addition to the AI2, Measure Labs is also linked to the University of Washington’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. The startup is developing ways to measure patients’ vital signs remotely and describes its product as an “AI-enabled SDK/API for mobile health sensing.” Also from its website: “To truly unlock telehealth, healthcare organizations need remote access to patient vitals.”

The AI2 connection: The company’s CEO, CSO and CTO are currently entrepreneurs-in-residence at the AI2, according to their LinkedIn profiles. AI2’s incubator pairs entrepreneurs with technical co-founders to build AI startups and in 2020 announced a $10 million fund to fuel spinouts. Measure Labs was founded in 2020, according to the filing.

The people: The company’s leadership provides some clues about its approach to remote patient monitoring.

CSO Matt Whitehill is a UW computer science graduate student, where he is part of the UW’s Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp) research lab, led by UW professor Shwetak Patel.

A screenshot from Measure Labs’ website.

Patel is a prolific innovator who works on tech to turn smartphones into health monitoring devices. Patel is a co-founder of Senosis Health, a UW spinoff that was acquired by Google, and is a former MacArthur “Genius” award winner.

Whitehill worked on a project in Patel’s lab to analyze human coughing in audio recordings; his other projects include inventing a way to detect falls in nursing homes using light bulbs. Other researchers in the lab are on record for developing “contactless” methods that assess cardiovascular and respiratory measurements using video data.

CEO Jamien McCullum was previously VP of business development at Seattle-based remote patient monitoring startup CTO Eric Chen previously managed software development for Amazon Comprehend Medical, which uses natural language processing to mine healthcare data from patient records and other sources. The company’s two engineers noted on the website, Jessie Young and Michael Fagundo, are also Amazon veterans.

The field: A number of companies have developed devices that fit on fingers or wrists, such as Amazon’s Halo, that aim to take blood pressure or other measurements. One startup has even made a heart rate monitor incorporated into a toilet seat.

Remote monitoring that does not require devices attached to the patient may be the next frontier. Seattle-based Sound Life Sciences, for instance, recently received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its “contactless” prescription-only app to measure breathing, based on sonar technology.

The pandemic has fueled interest in virtual health and remote patient monitoring — digital health startups pulled in a record $57.2 billion in funding last year, up 79% from 2020, according to a recent report from CB Insights.

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