A $10.5 million cash infusion will allow an Oklahoma City company to “dramatically expand” its efforts to sell a device that turns a smartphone into a clinical-quality heart monitor.
“We'll be selling it somewhere in the world this year,” said Dr. David Albert, inventor of the mobile electrocardiogram device and co-founder of AliveCor.
The company is moving quickly, Albert said, with the Series B venture financing coming less than a year after AliveCor obtained $3 million from an investor syndicate.
“We're pushing the rock hard uphill,” he said. “When you look at the opportunities and expenses of rolling a product out globally, it's not for the faint of heart or the empty of pocket.”
The device, expected to retail for about $100, is a slim case that fits over a smartphone, and can be used anywhere wireless coverage is available. Low-power electrodes on the case are pressed against the fingers or chest of a person to display electrical activity of the heart.
It can be used to detect a heart blockage or unstable heartbeat, or to monitor heart rate during exercise or stress-reduction techniques.
“AliveCor's unique innovation offers the ability to decrease the cost and increase the global availability of advanced cardiac monitoring,” said Dr. William Paiva, Manager of the Oklahoma Life Science Fund
Albert said his device is superior to current offerings in the marketplace.
“We clearly believe we have something that's disruptive and revolutionary and far better in many, many ways than our competitors,” he said. “But it's a competitive world and there are smart people everywhere. If we're successful, there will be a lot of competition.”
The medical device is poised for regulatory approval in the United States and two dozen foreign countries, Albert said. The new funding offers resources to exploit the global market, rather than focusing on just a few countries, he said.
“We have people from all parts of the developing world — Africa, South America, Asia, India — who have asked about our product,” Albert said. “We're trying to get the resources we have so we can go after all the market opportunities at the same time.”
While reluctant to speculate on potential sales, Albert said company officials believe there is an opportunity to sell millions of units around the world.
“That's a big enough market for me,” he said.
Albert, the son of former U.S. House Speaker Carl Albert, also started Oklahoma City-based Lifetone Technology, which makes bedside fire alarms for the hearing-impaired and those who are hard to wake. Meanwhile, AliveCor is working on other concepts, Albert said.
“They'll be some surprises coming from us in the not-too-distant future,” he said. “Stand by for some news stories.”
The new funding round came after recent presentations at major cardiology conferences, in which supporting data demonstrated the clinical utility and accuracy of AliveCor's device in monitoring patients' heart health. Existing investor Burrill & Company and new investor, Khosla Ventures, led the financing with participation from Series A investors, Qualcomm Ventures and the Oklahoma Life Sciences Fund.
To see a demonstration of the AliveCor device, go to alive