CellScope, smartphone diagnostic startup, raises $1M

By: Brian Dolan | Jun 11, 2012        

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cellscope closeupKhosla Ventures, the investment firm headed up by noted venture capitalist and Sun Microsystems co-founder Vinod Khosla, is increasingly making investments in mobile health startups. Khosla Ventures has made three investments in mobile health companies in as many months. In April we noted that Khosla had contributed to Misfit Wearables’ $7.6 million second round of funding and just this morning we reported on Khosla leading the $10.5 million second round of funding for AliveCor.

Khosla Ventures also recently invested $1 million in CellScope, an alum from Rock Health’s first class of startups in 2011. The company is developing smartphone peripheral devices designed for consumers to use for at-home diagnosis.

Think of it as a “modern-day digital first aid kit.”

CellScope’s first offering will be a smartphone-enabled otoscope that will enable physicians to remotely diagnose ear infections in children. Parents will be able to use the peripheral, which attaches to a smartphone camera lens, to send an image of their child’s inner ear that physicians can use to make a diagnosis and then write a prescription if need be. CellScope says ear infections in children make up 30 million doctor visits annually in the US alone. The consumer device would help parents miss less work and potentially cut down on late night emergency room visits, according to the startup.

The startup traces its origins to bioengineering Professor Dan Fletcher’s lab at UC Berkeley, where CellScope founders Erik Douglas and Amy Sheng were developing cellphone-microscopy for remote diagnosis in developing countries. CellScope expects to launch future products focused on throat and skin exams, including non-clinical apps for consumer skincare.

Here’s how Fletcher, who has also advised the Obama Administration on science and technology in the past, described his work on CellScope, according to a MobiHealthNews report in mid-2009:

“A second opportunity for the government to promote mobile health is through sponsoring research and development. This, I’ll use an example from my own lab at Berkeley. The result was a simple attachment to a cell phone [called CellScope] that would allow you to take images of sputum samples or blood samples. We designed this and decided try and build it. It seems to give us reasonable results. This is an example of a blood smear on that phone and this is a sickle cell sample. Being able to do sickle cell screening in the field both abroad as well as in this country in lower resource areas has potential. Technologies in the distant future may enable use of this sort of imaging capability to take some of the back laboratory tests that need to be run and put those in the hands of patients or mobile health workers.”

“Health data, the key ingredient to useful analysis and diagnosis, is starting to explode exponentially – and CellScope is on the cutting edge,” Vinod Khosla said in a written statement. “Erik and his team are creating next-generation technology that will empower patients and help them access the best care in the most efficient manner possible.”

More in the press release below:

PRESS RELEASE: CellScope, a mobile health startup building systems for at-home diagnosis, and recent graduate of Rock Health’s first class of startups, announced today that it has raised $1M in seed funding from Khosla Ventures. Using smartphone cameras connected to a web platform, Cellscope is creating a modern-day digital first aid kit. The company’s first product is a smartphone-enabled otoscope for remote diagnosis of pediatric ear infections, which cause 30 million doctor visits annually in the US. Parents can use the device from the convenience of their own homes to share images of the eardrum with remote pediatricians for diagnosis, treatment and monitoring. In the lives of busy parents, this means less missed work and late night ER visits, and increased revenue for doctors. The system is currently being piloted with doctors around the Bay Area.

“Health data, the key ingredient to useful analysis and diagnosis, is starting to explode exponentially – and CellScope is on the cutting edge,” says Vinod Khosla. “Erik and his team are creating next-generation technology that will empower patients and help them access the best care in the most efficient manner possible.”

CellScope CEO Erik Douglas says, “We are leveraging the ubiquity of mobile devices to extend and improve care, and we are thrilled to be working with Vinod Khosla to build this vision.”

CellScope started in bioengineering Professor Dan Fletcher’s lab at UC Berkeley working on cellphone-microscopy for remote diagnosis in developing countries. The team went through Rock Health’s first class in San Francisco in 2011. Future CellScope products will leverage the platform for throat and skin exams and non-clinical applications including consumer skincare.

To learn more, go to cellscope.com, or follow @cellscope on Twitter.

About Cellscope

CellScope uses optical attachments to turn smartphones into a diagnostic-quality imaging system. These patent-pending technologies empower consumers to save money and increase health by bringing expert diagnosis and advice into the home. Founders Erik Douglas and Amy Sheng founded Cellscope in 2010 while working on mobile microscopy in Professor Dan Fletcher’s lab at Berkeley. The company also took part in the first class at Rock Health, a seed accelerator for health startups based in San Francisco.

About Khosla Ventures

Khosla Ventures offers venture assistance, strategic advice and capital to entrepreneurs. The firm helps entrepreneurs extend the potential of their ideas in breakthrough scientific work in clean technology areas such as bio-refineries for energy and bioplastics, solar, battery and other environmentally friendly technologies as well as traditional venture areas like the Internet, computing, mobile and silicon technology arenas. Vinod Khosla founded the firm in 2004 and was formerly a General Partner at Kleiner Perkins and founder of Sun Microsystems. Khosla Ventures is based in Menlo Park, California. More information is available at www.khoslaventures.com.

For media inquiries, contact Erik Douglas at erik@cellscope.com

  • http://www.medema.co.uk/Otoscopes~40~0.htm Ruby uses otoscopes

     This will be very helpful for parents to check their kids ears at home and nowadays smart phones are doing peoples work very simple.

  • Stathamjohn82

    This is really good news for us. Khosla Ventures also recently invested $1 million in CellScope, an alum from Rock Health’s first class of startups in 2011. The company is developing smartphone peripheral devices designed for consumers to use for at-home diagnosis. Is this true?

  • Addmefastyou

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  • James Libertariate

    Why not just buy a $20 Dr. Mom Otoscope and look up pictures online?