Startup Review: Brightlamp

Brightlamp is a computational medicine company that produces consumer ready software for medical diagnostics. The Company’s mission is to make the world medically mobile by reforming the way people interact with technology and their health. The goal is to bring healthcare into the hands of everyday people by allowing them access to simplistic diagnostic services for a fraction of today’s costs.

The Company’s introductory product is a mobile application that will display relevant pupillometric data. This method only requires a camera and flash to measure the reaction of the iris. This product is lightning fast with measurements taking just 5 seconds.

This innovative method to detect concussions on a mobile device is now patent pending. Application of this technology to a mobile suite is still in development. This is the first step in securing the Company’s innovation with many more proprietary technologies on the way.

How it works:

·      You hold the camera up to the individual's eye.

·      The Company’s algorithm will locate a pupil and display the active measurement on screen.

·      You start the test by tapping the screen.

·      The product flashes a light to initiate the pupil response.

·      The Company measures the latency, constriction rate, dilation rate, and recovery time.

·      The four variables will be processed and the product will determine your risk of brain injury.

The Company uses computer vision and deep learning to train their algorithms what a concussion looks like. In fact, it is artificial intelligence that makes the computer in a phone smart enough to do this. Using preliminary data the product has achieved greater than 98% accuracy. The current rate of missing a concussion is upwards of 84%.

At this point, the Company has partnered with an Indiana-based healthcare network so that they can begin testing the product on the field as soon as possible.

The Company has also produced a product (Tipsee), separate from the concussion-focused product, that is developed to detect how drunk an individual is using a similar procedure already described. This product (the alcohol analyzer) only costs $3 per month.  An individual’s eyes say a lot about their brain and the way they think. The alcohol analyzer measures the reflex an individual’s iris has due to a flash of light and can characterize said individual’s cognitive function. Breathalyzers are expensive and only give you data. This product gives actual results on an individual’s state-of-mind.

 

Problem

Concussions occur whenever the brain moves or shifts within the skull, usually due to some kind of force. You might get a concussion when your car is rear-ended and your head snaps forward from the momentum or from hitting your head during a fall. There are 3.8 million concussions that occur every year and the CDC has labeled concussions as a “silent epidemic”. Only 16% of concussions are caught per year. It costs $1.6 billion every year to diagnose concussions.

They’re surprisingly common, especially in sports, and have lately become a hot topic within professional football — the latest numbers show that 60 percent of players have had at least one concussion. Research now reveals that they might carry more of a risk than previously thought, especially when it comes to risk of stroke.

Over the long-term, repeated concussions can cause memory problems, difficulty concentrating, depression and problems with impulse control. Neurological problems can affect movement, and dementia can occur. Young brains can be particularly susceptible to injury, making prevention of concussions of primary importance to athletes in their school years.

Concussions can be tough to identify, smack your head on a low ceiling and you might just shake it off, but there are certain symptoms that set it apart. These symptoms fall into four categories: thinking and remembering, physical, emotions and moods, and sleep. The symptoms of thought include difficulty concentrating or feeling slowed down while thinking, while physical signs involve headache, blurry or fuzzy vision, dizziness and sensitivity to light and noise. As for emotions, be on the lookout for irritability and sadness. Sleep changes may include sleeping more than usual, less than usual or having trouble falling asleep.

Whether an individual is an athlete, trainer, coach, doctor, or an average person the Company offers the only rapid solution to detect a concussion. In fact, the next fastest test for a concussion takes 800% longer than brightlamp’s (with less accuracy and additional hardware). The Company’s goal is for the final release of the application to be able to diagnose an individual. This has never been done with a consumer ready application.

It is critically important to catch a concussion as early as possible and as effectively as possible. There are very few ways to actually tell if a person has a concussion, which is particularly dangerous considering that further head contact for a concusses person can cause even worse damage, both short term and long term. The best way to treat a concussion is to avoid contact and to rest effectively. It is also very easy for a person with a concussion to not know that they have a concussion.

Avoiding multiple concussions is key because over time, concussions can increase your risk of stroke. According to Jonathan J. Russin, MD, an assistant professor of clinical neurological surgery and assistant surgical director of the USC Neurorestoration Center at Keck School of Medicine at USC, several studies link concussions to an increased risk of stroke.

In 2015, 10,265 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (29%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. Of the 1,132 traffic deaths among children ages 0 to 14 years in 2015, 209 (16%) involved an alcohol-impaired driver. In 2015, nearly 1.1 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. That’s one percent of the 111 million self-reported episodes of alcohol-impaired driving among U.S. adults each year.

 

Market Size

There has been intense interest in diagnosing concussions and traumatic brain injury (TBI) in recent years. A study published in the March 2017 edition of The Journal of the American Medical Association showed that at least some form of TBI was diagnosed in 87 percent of donated brains of 202 football players. The NFL in particular has been plagued with lawsuits regarding Chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

This has led to many companies developing technologies for the growing space. FDA’s response has been swift too, as it has cleared and approved a number of devices and diagnostics that can give greater insight, if not outright detect TBI in patients.

Nearly two months ago, FDA cleared the Banyan Brain Trauma Indicator, the first blood-based TBI detection test. San Diego-based Banyan Biomarkers developed the assay. Banyan’s diagnostic test works by identifying two brain-specific protein biomarkers (Ubiquitin Carboxy-terminal Hydrolase-L1 or UCH-L1 and Glial Fibrilliary Acidic Protein or GFAP) that rapidly appear in the blood after a brain injury.

In 2016, FDA cleared two medical devices, the first to fall into the new computerized cognitive assessment aid for concussion device category. The Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) and ImPACT Pediatric devices from Pittsburgh, PA-based ImPACT Applications are computerized tools used to test a person's cognitive function after a possible concussion.

However, the tests don't actually diagnose concussion. Instead they can be used to determine how a person's thinking may have been impaired by a possible brain injury. Patients are tested on measures like word memory and recognition as well as reaction time. Their performance is compared against their own results before injury or to database scores from other people their own age.

FDA also cleared a virtual reality, eye-tracking headset that can detect concussion symptoms in less than 60 seconds. Eye-sync, from Boston-based startup Syncthink, is the product of years of research by the Stanford concussion and brain performance center at Stanford school of medicine.

The global sports medicine market size was valued at $6.4 billion in 2016 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.7% over the forecast period. Augmenting growth for the orthopedic industry and rising incidences of sports related injuries are the vital impact rendering drivers.

Sports protective equipment is mandated by some sports authorities and is necessarily used as a preventive measure offering protection against sudden external impacts. The sports protective equipment market showed steady growth rate in the past few years, and is expected to continue this trend in the future. The sports protective equipment market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.5% to attain a market size of $8.7 billion by 2022. Head & face segment continues to dominate the market, and is expected to lead the market throughout the forecast period.

The market at the intersection of sports medicine and concussions seems to be a very hot space right now. The concussion-diagnosis spend in the United States is already ~$1.6 billion, and that’s for a small sliver of actually diagnosed concussions. Sports equipment and protective gear is a similarly large market. This market size shows that there is a desire and proof of concept for the sports industry to protect it’s participants. It would not be unreasonable to assume that the TAM for brightlamp’s concussion product would be north of $2.0 billion.

In 2015, nearly 1.1 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.3 That’s one percent of the 111 million self-reported episodes of alcohol-impaired driving among U.S. adults each year. Most people who report episodes of alcohol-impaired driving state that the reason was because they just didn’t know. This means that the  Company could potentially gain a maximum of ~111 million customers (at $3 per month), which could translate into a $3.9 billion potential market size of recurring revenue.

 

Support

The Company is currently financed by Elevate Ventures, the Purdue Research Foundation, and OCEAN Accelerator. At this time, the Company has raised more that $100,000. However, after some proof of concept in the field is provided for the concussion product and Tipsee experiences a successful beta launch, it would be reasonable to assume that more early stage investments come rolling through to the Company.

 

Management

The management team has a very strong collective background in starting businesses and working in this field professionally. They have completed 70 research projects and they have published 60 research papers.

Kurtis Sluss (Chief Executive Officer): Kurtis is an American engineer, inventor, and entrepreneur. His focus is redefining medicine and disrupting current diagnostic technologies. He leads brightlamp as Cofounder and CEO with experience in innovative detection and diagnostic methods and an intuition for startup success.

Jonathan Holt (Chief Operating Officer): Jonathan is a Purdue engineer and innovator. He has developed critical and strategic plans to grow brightlamp. As the Cofounder and COO, he manages the day to day actions and future projects. He has secured all intellectual property for the company, including patents and trademarks.

Pavlos Vlacho (Chief Science Officer): Pavlos operates as brightlamp’s CSO with over 15 years of experience in research and development in the academic setting. With over 60 externally funded projects and over $17 million in research expenditures, his strong connections in academia allow him to focus on research opportunities and project funding.

Brett Meyers (Chief Technology Officer): Brett is a Ph.D. candidate in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University and CTO at brightlamp. He has developed our state-of-the-art pupilometer algorithm and leads the company in software design and validation.

 

 

Peter G Schmidt