Spect Launches to Build Largest Retinal Data Set in the World and Diagnose Critical Health Conditions, Starting with Diabetes

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With $3.5M in Series Seed financing and expanded executive team, the AI-enabled mobile telemedicine platform helps clinicians quickly and accurately detect symptoms at a fraction of the cost compared to traditional retinal exams

"Spect has tremendous power to scale by using artificial intelligence,” said Ash Patel, Founding Partner of Morado Ventures. “One day Spect will be in our medicine cabinets at home, without the need for a specialist to perform an examination.”

Spect, the data-science company and the leading provider of end-to-end eye disease screening solutions, today announces the closing of an $3.5 million round in Series Seed financing led by Morado Ventures, XTX Ventures, 10x and AME Cloud. The company’s AI-enabled mobile telemedicine platform helps clinicians capture retinal images and screen for vision-threatening eye diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) -- at a drastically reduced cost using medical assistants and nurse practitioners in primary care and at-home care. This enables screenings to be completed in substantially less time and cost compared to seeing an eye specialist (such as an ophthalmologist or optometrist).

“The eye is the body’s check engine light. Retinal screening can prevent diabetic retinopathy, and give early warnings about heart attack, stroke, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's. Sadly, despite this, people skip their annual eye screenings because it’s costly and inconvenient,” said Mike Ricci, CEO and Co-Founder of Spect. “That’s got to stop. Spect solves today’s retinal exam pain points so that millions of patients can, and will, get the preventative care they need.”

Spect brings eye care to primary care, benefitting:

  • Patients: Spect improves patient health by making it easy to receive vital eye screenings. It also reduces time at the doctor’s office, allowing for an annual eye screening procedure to be done in one visit, as opposed to needing to schedule additional follow-ups.
  • Clinics: Clinics can provide better care to patients in-house, without needing a referral; and Spect improves the quality of care metrics.
  • Ophthalmologists: Spect frees up doctors’ time to focus on treatment, rather than on performing screening exams.
  • Payors: Vision-threatening diseases are caught earlier and treated with minor procedures, as opposed to expensive surgery and drug treatments down the line.

Diabetes impacts nearly one-third of the U.S. population, and many are affected by its related health complications. Diabetic Retinopathy is currently the leading cause of vision loss in American adults, impacting the lives of millions, yet preventable through regular eye check-ups. Despite that, 60% of U.S. patients skip their annual eye exam due to a dearth of appointment availability and a serious shortage of retinal specialists, which makes visits costly. Spect is uniquely positioned to address this critical healthcare gap because its technology makes treatment more affordable and accessible at the point of care.

How it Works
Spect’s platform creates a frictionless workflow that enables healthcare staff to obtain results in three minutes or less with an image gradeability above 95%.

  • Spect Imaging Device: Spect practices receive a small, portable, and easy to use device for doctors to carry in their pocket
  • Spect Telemedicine Platform: Spect trained specialists can guide clinicians how to use the Spect device, enabling seamless at-home testing options
  • Spect Retinal Image Grader: Spect’s AI-enabled platform analyzes the results within minutes, instead of days
  • Spect’s Dataset: Over 1.5 million images captured to date are on the platform and this dataset continues to grow
  • Spect’s Business Model: Spect utilizes a SaaS licensing model, and there is no upfront or support cost to the customer

“Spect has tremendous power to scale by using artificial intelligence,” said Ash Patel, Founding Partner of Morado Ventures. “One day Spect will be in our medicine cabinets at home, without the need for a specialist to perform an examination. ”

Company Momentum
In addition to its latest infusion of capital, Spect continues to build out an impressive company roster. Drew Hosford, formerly the VP of Engineering at Gauss Surgical (acquired by Stryker), is now Spect’s CTO, joining co-founders Ricci and Michael Leung to round out the leadership team.

Over the coming months, Spect will use the funding from the oversubscribed round to build out its AI capabilities, grow the company’s world-class team, and expand diagnostic access and partnerships with leading clinics and enterprise health systems.

“The implications of Spect’s technology and dataset span far beyond the diagnosis of Diabetic Retinopathy because the retina tells us so much more about human health,” said Dr. Theodore Leng, Director of Research at the Byers Eye Institute at Stanford, and Co-Founder at Spect. “The team is creating a new and scalable way to diagnose diseases that plague billions of people across the globe.”

The company would like to acknowledge the support it has received to date from Y Combinator, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS, Medtech Innovator, and StartX.

For information about partnering with Spect, to request a demo and to view open career opportunities, please visit https://getspect.com.

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Spect is preventing blindness with the early detection of eye disease. It is a data-science company and leading provider of end-to-end eye disease screening solutions. Believing the eye is The Check Engine Light of the Body(™), Spect’s technology serves to screen for eye diseases, as well as providing a key predictor of whole-body diseases, like stroke. Spect uses its AI-enabled telemedicine platform to train medical assistants and render diagnostic reports in minutes, instead of days, to deliver best-in-class service and financial outcomes for patients and clinics. For more information, visit https://getspect.com.

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