Startup Spotlight: Vizua looks to bring medical image viewing into the future

Started by former Microsoft employees and a French scientist, Vizua is looking to transform the way radiologists share MRI, CT and ultrasound scans. Historically, radiologists would send a CD full of images via the mail to colleagues for second opinions.

But with Vizua, they can upload the images to a private cloud where they can be easily and securely shared to devices such as the iPad.

Fresh off its win as Best Investment Opportunity at the Zino Marketplace Investment Forum, Vizua CEO Dean Lester (who previously spent 14 years at Microsoft) talked about his 11-month-old startup for the latest installment of Startup Spotlight.

Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “Medical scanners produce sliced views that are extremely hard for non-radiologists to understand. We combine these slices to recreate the whole original sample that can be viewed on any system and shared instantly with anyone around the world.”

Former Microsoft GM Dean Lester

Inspiration hit us when: “When we realized video game imaging technology was decades ahead of medical imaging technology. That’s just wrong.”

VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “Bootstrap and angel. We are all about taking accountability and not just throwing money at challenges.”

Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “Instant sharing worldwide of real-time, high definition 3D scans of any size on any device (including glasses-free 3D screens).”

The smartest move we’ve made so far: “Hiring smart, passionate people who aren’t a**holes.”

The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “Not investing more in our web site earlier.”

Would you rather have Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “Bezos. He brings huge intellectual smarts and great business insights rolled in to one package.”

Our world domination strategy starts when: “Patients demand 3D reconstructions of their 2D scans so they can properly understand their pathology and treatment options. In 10 years’ time people will look back and wonder how they managed without it.”

Rivals should fear us because: “We have made three years’ worth of progress in 11 months and we are just getting started.”

We are truly unique because: “We bring all the technical chops and an appreciation for what our customers really need.”

The biggest hurdle we’ve overcome is: “People who have seen 3D medical images before, think we are nothing new. We have to explain that the images they have seen before were created on workstations in a radiology suite. Ours are high speed, high quality and delivered to a web browser or iPad anywhere in the world so they don’t need a $300,000 system to access them. The analogy is going to the movie theater versus Netflix – same content but totally different use case.”

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Have your first customer ready to sign up before you start.”

Startup Spotlight is an occasional look at a Seattle area startup company. Have an interesting new venture you want spotlighted in GeekWire? Fill out the questions above, send a couple photos of the founder(s) and company logo to tips@geekwire.com. Past profiles can be found here.

  • http://superkinz.com Andrew Kinzer

    That’s fantastic. I’m looking forward to sending my skeleton to family. You know, after you have this information, you can actually use it for sizing purposes in fashion. I can see an interactive app that lets me see my whole body with shirts on from different brands. Can you imagine the new avatars that would be possible?

  • Anonymous

    This is a very interesting startup.  Having been through the whole “bring a disc” routine, it’s an area begging for something like this.

    One of the challenges will be dealing with systems (think UW Hospitals as they gobble up other outfits like NW Hospital).  If the patient stays in the system, there is no need for vizua sharing.  You might be able to sell the idea to insurance companies – I’ve had several unnecessary scans because sharing wasn’t available.  

    Another question that sprung to mind is security.  If you bring world class security to the game, I think you will have a lot more credibility.

    Good luck.