Mobisante, the Redmond-based company that makes ultrasound technology viewable on a smartphone or tablet, just pulled in $4.2 million in fresh funding to continue providing customers with a low-cost alternative to other expensive high-end portable ultrasound systems.
Founded in 2009 by Sailesh Chutani — a former Microsoft mobile exec — and David Zar — a researcher at Washington University in St. Louis — Mobisante raised the new funds from Seattle-based WRF Capital, which led the round, along with the W Fund and several other angels.
The $4.2 million includes convertible debt. The company could close on another $1.2 million in the next few weeks, Chutani said. The new cash will be used to expand the company’s sales and marketing, as well as to build out a back-end, cloud-based image management solution.
Mobisante first began selling its ultrasound device, which goes for less than $10,000, in October of 2011 after going back-and-forth with the FDA for months to get its approval. The device gives doctors and clinics the ability to look inside the body at damaged internal organs or developing fetuses, and also allows sending of the images to other doctors for second opinions.
While competitors sell ultrasound equipment that goes for as much as $100,000, Mobisante’s cheap and portable product is appealing to those where access to such equipment is limited and expensive. Chutani wouldn’t disclose sales numbers, but said that the response so far has been great from clinics and hospitals.
“The hospitals focus on cost reduction and efficiency, and having something like a point-of-care ultrasound means they don’t have to move a patient to an imaging center,” he said. “It saves them money and also reduces the rate of complication.”
Chutani said that based on customer feedback so far, MobiSante’s device is up-to-par with other certain existing ultrasound systems for target clinical indications. The company will also have additional clinical studies coming out in the next few months.
Depending on the customer’s need, MobiSante offers both a Windows-based smartphone and tablet that are also available to rent for $400-to-$800.
“If you’re working at the Everest Base Camp, the smartphone is going to make a lot more sense,” Chutani said. “But if you are at a private practice and can stay in one place, the tablet makes more sense with the larger screen. Our customers have different needs, so we carry both.”
For Chutani, the former Microsoft director of mobile and research teams, it’s been fun getting back into startup land.
“I definitely still use a lot of what I learned at Microsoft, but new muscles have been developed in the startup world,” said Chutani, who has worked at two startups previously. “Everything is compressed and the startup clock runs at ten times that of a large company. It’s absolutely been phenomenal, but boy, it’s a huge amount of work. It’s exciting.”
Here’s a demo of the Mobisante system: