Google Glass health startup rakes in $16M
'This new round of funding demonstrates that Google Glass is thriving in the enterprise space'
To all the skeptics who thought Google Glass wouldn't make it in the healthcare world: Think again. Venture capital investors have suggested they believe otherwise, after handing over another $16 million to a San Francisco-based healthcare startup powered by the technology.
The company, Augmedix, which bills itself as the world's first Google Glass startup, has now secured $23 million in venture funding to date. The $16 million round announced today was co-led by the company's seed investors Emergence Capital and DCM Ventures. Already, the Google Glass service is being used by five health systems nationwide, including the 40-hospital Dignity Health in San Francisco.
[See also: Will Google Glass make it in healthcare?.]
Founded in 2012, Augmedix utilizes the Google Glass wearable technology to help clinicians reduce the time they spend with electronic health records and paperwork to spend more time with patients. Started by Stanford graduates Ian Shakil, chief executive officer, and Pelu Tran, chief product officer, the company already has some 100 employees nationwide. The venture cash will be used to ramp up product development, ink new partnerships and further expand operations, officials say.
"This new round of funding demonstrates that Google Glass is thriving in the enterprise space, particularly in healthcare," said Augmedix's Shakil, in a Jan. 12 press statement announcing the funding deal. "We're proud to be making a real difference in patient satisfaction, doctor satisfaction, and health record accuracy. In terms of economic impact, we've repeatedly shown that our service effectively turns three doctors into four."
Shakil and Tran, both with backgrounds in biomedical engineering, first teamed up at Stanford and launched the startup back in 2012 after recognizing an untapped opportunity for Google Glass in the healthcare space, as they regularly observed clinicians "drowning" in paperwork.
They are not, however, the first behind a healthcare-focused Google Glass startup. Earlier in 2014, Wearable Intelligence, also based in San Francisco, announced it had landed $8.4 million in venture capital to develop enterprise solutions utilizing wearable technology like Google Glass. The company has already inked a partnership with industry heavyweight Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, which uses the technology for hands-free medical data in the emergency room.
Despite the flowing cash into Google Glass startups, the technology has faced increasing public criticism in recent months, with, among others, MIT's Technology Review listing it as one of the "most interesting technology failures of 2014," citing app developers halting work on Glass and users expressing being underwhelmed with the platform.