Zebra Medical Vision gets $30M Series C to create AI-based tools for radiologists

Zebra Medical Vision, an Israeli medical imaging startup that uses machine and deep learning to build tools for radiologists, has raised a $30 million Series C led by health technology fund aMoon Ventures, with participation from Aurum, Johnson & Johnson Innovation—JJDC Inc. (the conglomerate’s venture capital arm), Intermountain Health and artificial intelligence experts Fei-Fei Li and Richard Socher. Existing investors Khosla Ventures, Nvidia, Marc Benioff, OurCrowd and Dolby Ventures also returned for the round.

Zebra also announced its Textray research today, which it claims is the “most comprehensive AI research conducted on chest X-rays to date.” Textray is being used to develop a new product that has already been trained using almost two million images to identify 40 clinical findings. Scheduled to launch next year, it will help automate the analysis of chest X-rays for radiologists.

Founder and CEO Elad Benjamin, who launched Zebra with Eyal Toledano and Eyal Gura in 2014, told TechCrunch in an email that its Series C capital will be spent on new hires to speed up the development of its analytics engine and its go-to-market strategy.

Chest X-rays are one of the most common radiographs ordered, but also among the most difficult for radiologists to interpret. There are several groups of researchers focused on using artificial intelligence algorithms to make the process more accurate and efficient, including teams from Google, Stanford and the Dubai Health Authority.

Benjamin said Zebra, which has now raised a total of $50 million, differentiates its approach by looking at its algorithms from a “holistic product perspective. Developing an algorithm is just one piece,” he added. “Integrating it into the workflow, adapting it to the needs of multiple countries and healthcare environments, supporting and updating it, and regulating it properly globally takes a tremendous focus – and that’s what delivers value, over and above an algorithm.”

He added that “it will take a few more years” before AI becomes mainstream in medical imaging and diagnosis, but he believes that it will eventually be a critical component of radiology. Zebra Medical Vision already markets a bundle of algorithms for lung, breast, liver, cardiovascular and bone disease diagnoses called AI1 that costs hospitals $1 per scan.

In a press statement, aMoon managing partner Dr. Yair Schindel said “We are excited to partner with the Zebra team, which is harnessing the power of data and machine learning to provide physicians and healthcare systems with tools to dramatically increase capacity, while improving patient care. This investment aligns with our vision of backing scalable and sustainable innovations that will have a valuable impact on fundamental facets of global healthcare.”

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