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HealthLeap raises $1.1M pre-seed to reduce malnutrition in hospitals with clinical AI assistant

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HealthLeap raises $1.1M pre-seed to reduce malnutrition in hospitals with clinical AI assistant

Malnutrition is somewhat common among hospitalized patients in the U.S., and its coded prevalence is increasing. Amid this problem lies an opportunity to optimize the overall quality of patient care, improve clinical outcomes and reduce costs.

That’s the drive for South Africa-based health tech startup HealthLeap, which focuses on a global healthcare market starting from the U.S. The startup provides a clinical assistant for dietitians working in hospitals. It’s emerging from stealth to announce its $1.1 million pre-seed round led by deep tech investor Fifty Years.

Malnutrition happens when there’s a deficiency, excess or imbalance of nutrients in people’s bodies. This can cause significant adverse effects on people’s physiology and clinical outcomes.

People with diseases can develop malnutrition when they cannot consume adequate quantities or quality of food, or their diet does not reach the proper levels of nutrients to compensate for the specific nutritional needs created by the disease.

HealthLeap’s method is to use clinical nutrition to diagnose, prevent and manage these nutritional changes in these patients.

The health tech company says it is building AI-assisted tools for healthcare professionals to better address hospital malnutrition.

“As a clinical dietitian, I saw many patients suffer due to malnutrition being insufficiently addressed in hospitals, partially because clinical dietitians are understaffed, and other clinicians are not adequately trained in clinical nutrition,” clinical dietitian and chief research officer Jemima Meyer told TechCrunch.

“I wanted to help dietitians with the complex clinical calculations that they constantly tailor to each patient case and their changing medical condition.”

Meyer hacked the first version of a research-backed productivity tool to help her colleagues perform calculations, make decisions using the latest clinical research and treat more patients in less time.

With her brother and CEO Josiah Meyer and CTO Ray Botha, they standardized the process, and that was how HealthLeap was launched in April 2021.

The company’s AI-based clinical assistant product is called NutriLeap. Its mobile app, which is HIPAA-compliant, helps hospital dietitians (and soon the other healthcare providers they collaborate with) with automated clinical calculations and research-backed suggestions. With this, they can determine precise, personalized nutritional needs significantly faster for patients. 

“We are predicting optimal treatment steps to ensure patients receive adequate nutrition,” said CTO Botha. “The decisions clinicians make inside our app combined with data from other sources, including an EHR integration, will further improve our predictions.” 

The app is used by 50 dietitians in a private beta program. The company said it has a waitlist nearing 1,000 dietitians, pharmacists and physicians

HealthLeap founders: Ray Botha, CTO: Josiah Meyer, CEO; Jemima Meyer, CRO

Malnutrition in hospitals is associated with 3-5x mortality during a hospital stay. It affects 30-50% of patients, but only 5% are diagnosed. HealthLeap says it wants to eradicate hospital malnutrition globally. But for now, it is focused on the U.S. because of the possibilities the new United States Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI) standards unlock. 

We believe in a future where nutrition is uniquely optimized for the health of every person. We want to help make nutrition data-driven for everyone, and we’re starting with the people that need it most urgently: hospital patients,” said the chief executive Josiah Meyer. “One important data source that got unlocked is Electronic Health Record data due to the USCDI standards.”

The USCDI standards, approved in July last year, allow health tech organizations to access previously unavailable health data sources. And with the pandemic massively accelerating healthcare professionals’ adoption rates of digital tools, HealthLeap is poised to capture a significant market share with its software.

In addition to helping clinical dietitians and other healthcare providers (hospital pharmacists, physicians, nurses) identify patients at risk of malnutrition, HealthLeap also prescribes daily quantities of oral, tube, and IV feeding to the patient’s ever-changing needs. The company said it treats patients even after discharge.

HealthLeap is still very much in the pre-revenue stage. But it won’t stay that way much longer. According to preliminary pricing research carried out by the company, 97% of its target users are willing to pay a monthly subscription fee out for access to NutriLeap.

Figuring out revenue is good news for startups and the investors backing them. For Fifty Years, HealthLeap’s lead investor that recently raised $90 million for its third and newest fund, investing in “the next generation of founders that will change the world for the better” is paramount as well. That’s why the firm, which is made up of 44 unicorn founders, backed HealthLeap.

“It’s a tragedy that so many die needlessly because they don’t get the nutrition they need while in the hospital,” said Fifty Years founding partner Seth Bannon in a statement. “By addressing hospital malnutrition in a scalable way using machine learning, HealthLeap will save dietitians time, save healthcare providers money, and most importantly save patients’ lives. That’s easy to get excited about.”

HealthLeap says it will use this pre-seed capital to hire software engineers and data scientists to continue creating smart tools to help clinicians prevent and treat hospital malnutrition.

Source: Tech

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Paack pulls in a $225M Series D led by SoftBank to scale its E-commerce delivery platform

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By now, many of us are familiar with the warehouse robots which populate those vast spaces occupied by the likes of Amazon and others. In particular, Amazon was very much a pioneer of the technology. But it’s 2021 now, and allying warehouse robots with a software logistics platform is no longer the monopoly of one company.

One late-stage startup which has been ‘making hay’ with the whole idea is Paack, an e-commerce delivery platform which a sophisticated software platform that integrates with the robotics which are essential to modern-day logistics operations.

It’s now raised €200m ($225m) in a Series D funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2. The capital will be used for product development and European expansion.

New participants for this round also include Infravia Capital Partners, First Bridge Ventures, and Endeavor Catalyst. Returning investors include Unbound, Kibo Ventures, Big Sur Ventures, RPS Ventures, Fuse Partners, Rider Global, Castel Capital, and Iñaki Berenguer.

This funding round comes after the creation of a profitable position in its home market of Spain, but Paack claims it’s on track to achieve similar across its European operations, Such as in the UK, France, and Portugal.

Founded by Fernando Benito, Xavier Rosales and Suraj Shirvankar, Paack now says it’s delivering several million orders per month from 150 international clients, processing 10,000 parcels per hour, per site. Some 17 of them are amongst the largest e-commerce retailers in Spain.

The startup’s systems integrate with e-commerce sites. This means consumers are able to customize their delivery schedule at checkout, says the company.

Benito, CEO and Co-founder, said: “Demand for convenient, timely, and more sustainable methods of delivery is going to explode over the next few years and Paack is providing the solution. We use technology to provide consumers with control and choice over their deliveries, and reduce the carbon footprint of our distribution.” 

Max Ohrstrand, Investment Director at SoftBank Investment Advisers said: “As the e-commerce sector continues to flourish and same-day delivery is increasingly the norm for consumers, we believe Paack is well-positioned to become the category leader both in terms of its technology and commitment to sustainability.”

According to research from the World Economic Forum (WEF), the last-mile delivery business is expected to grow 78% by 2030, causing a rise in CO2 emissions of nearly one-third.

As a result, Paack claim it aims to deliver all parcels at carbon net-zero by measuring its environmental impact, using electric last-mile delivery vehicles. It is now seeking certification with The Carbon Trust and United Nations.

In an interview Benito told me: “We have a very clear short term vision which is to lead sustainable e-commerce delivers in Europe… through technology via what we think is perhaps the most advanced tech delivery platform for last-mile delivery. Our CTO was the CTO and co-founder of Google Cloud, for instance.”

“We are developing everything from warehouse automation, time windows, routing integrations etc. in order to achieve the best delivery experience.”

Paack says it is able to work with more than one robotics partner, but presently it is using robots from Chinese firm GEEK.

The company hopes it can compete with the likes of DHL, Instabox, and La Poste in Europe, which are large incumbents.

Source: Tech

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Infermedica raises $30M to expand its AI-based medical guidance platform

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Infermedica, a Poland-founded digital health company that offers AI-powered solutions for symptom analysis and patient triage, has raised $30 million in Series B funding. The round was led by One Peak and included participation from previous investors Karma Ventures, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Heal Capital and Inovo Venture Partners. The new capital means the startup has raised $45 million in total to date.

Founded in 2012, Infermedica aims to make it easier for doctors to pre-diagnose, triage and direct their patients to appropriate medical services. The company’s mission is to make primary care more accessible and affordable by introducing automation into healthcare. Infermedica has created a B2B platform for health systems, payers and providers that automates patient triage, the intake process and follow-up after a visit. Since its launch, Infermedica is being used in more than 30 countries in 19 languages and has completed more than 10 million health checks.

The company offers a preliminary diagnosis symptom checker, an AI-driven software that supports call operators making timely triage recommendations and an application programming interface that allows users to build customized diagnostic solutions from scratch. Like a plethora of competitors, such as Ada Health and Babylon, Infermedica combines the expertise of physicians with its own algorithms to offer symptom triage and patient advice.

In terms of the new funding, Infermedica CEO Piotr Orzechowski told TechCrunch in an email that the investment will be used to further develop the company’s Medical Guidance Platform and add new modules to cover the full primary care journey. Last year, Infermedica’s team grew by 80% to 180 specialists, including physicians, data scientists and engineers. Orzechowski says Infermedica has an ambitious plan to nearly double its team in the next 12 months.

Image Credits: Infermedica

“We will invest heavily into our people and our products, rolling out new modules of our platform as well as expanding our underlying AI capabilities in terms of disease coverage and accuracy,” Orzechowski said. “From the commercial perspective, our goal is to strengthen our position in the US and DACH and we will focus the majority of our sales and marketing efforts there.”

Regarding the future, Orzechowski said he’s a firm believer that there will be fully automated self-care bots in 5-10 years that will be available 24/7 to help providers find solutions to low acuity health concerns, such as a cold or UTI.

“According to WHO, by 2030 we might see a shortage of almost 10 million doctors, nurses and midwives globally,” Orzechowski said. “Having certain constraints on how fast we can train healthcare professionals, our long-term plan assumes that AI will become a core element of every modern healthcare system by navigating patients and automating mundane tasks, saving the precious time of clinical staff and supporting them with clinically accurate technology.”

Infermedica’s Series B round follows its $10 million Series A investment announced in August 2020. The round was led by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and digital health fund Heal Capital. Existing investors Karma Ventures, Inovo Venture Partners and Dreamit Ventures also participated in the round.

Source: Tech

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KKR invests $45M into GrowSari, a B2B platform for Filipino MSMEs

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A sari-sari store owner who uses GrowSari

GrowSari, the Manila-based startup that helps small shops grow and digitize, announced today that KKR will lead its Series C round with a $45 million investment. The funds will be used to enter new regions in the Philippines and expand its financial products. The Series C round is still ongoing and the startup says it is already oversubscribed, with the final composition currently being finalized. 

Before its Series C, GrowSari’s total raised was $30 million. TechCrunch last wrote about GrowSari in June 2021, when it announced its Series B. Since then, it has expanded the number of municipalities it serves from 100 to 220, and now has a customer base of 100,000 micro, small and mid-sized enterprise (MSME) store owners. 

Founded in 2016, GrowSari is a B2B platform that offers almost every kind of service that small- to medium-sized retailers, including neighborhood stores that carry daily necessities (called sari-saris), roadside and market shops and pharmacies, need.

For example, it has a wholesale marketplace with products from major fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brands like Unilever, P&G and Nestle. It partners with over 200 providers, like telecoms, fintechs and subscription plans, so sari-saris can offer services like top-ups and bill payments to their customers. 

Sari-sari operators can also use GrowSari to launch e-commerce stores and access short-term working capital loans to buy inventory. The startup’s other financial products include digital wallets and cash-in services, and it is looking at adding remittance, insurance and loans in partnership with other providers. 

The new funding will be used to expand into the Visayas and Mindanao, the two other main geographical regions in the Philippines, with the goal of covering all 1.1 million “mom and pop” stores in the Philippines. 

Source: Tech

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