Health, Wellness & Biotech

Improving Surgical Outcomes: Theator Banks $15.5M Series A

To develop its surgical intelligence platform that combines artificial intelligence and computer vision to improve surgeon performance, theator has raised $15.5 million in an oversubscribed Series A round.

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The company, founded in 2018 with offices in Palo Alto and Tel Aviv, is reacting to statistics that say Black children are three times as likely as white children to die within a month of surgery, while globally, an estimated 5 billion people lack access to safe surgical care, Tamir Wolf, M.D., co-founder and CEO of theator, told Crunchbase News.

Wolf saw this play out firsthand after remarkably different experiences when taking his wife and a former boss to hospitals, both for suspected appendicitis. While his wife was home 12 hours later, his former boss ended up spending several weeks in intensive care followed by a prolonged hospital stay.

“The way surgery is taught has not changed in decades, which leads to disparity,” he told Crunchbase News. “These outcomes stem from the fact that surgery is still taught as an apprenticeship, which limits exposure to data and experiences. To become the best surgeon, you have to have exposure to good decision-making and procedures.”

The company’s platform is rooted in software and analysis of surgical video, which is largely untapped, Wolf said. It uses video analytics to extract and annotate surgical steps, events, milestones and decisions during a surgery to enable surgeons to review operations and gain insights on performance, efficiency and productivity within minutes. This leads to more streamline processes of future pre-operative preparation, post-operative review and assessment.

Insight Partners led the round and was joined by new investor, Blumberg Capital, and existing investors including NFX, StageOne Ventures, KdT Ventures and iAngels, as well as individual investors, Anne Wojcicki, Neil Hunt and Eyal Gura. Including the Series A, theator has raised a total of $18.5 million to date, which includes a $3 million seed round in 2019, according to Crunchbase data.

Yodfat Harel Buchris, managing director at Blumberg Capital, said in an interview that her firm has invested in four different companies in this space in the past year. Wolf and his team have what it takes to succeed, as well as the enthusiasm, knowledge and vision of what is happening related to surgical intelligence, she added

“They are creating a data link that has not been done before,” Buchris said. “During these months, we have learned so much about the company and the potential its technology has, especially with the lack of technology being used today in the operating room which is both alarming and disturbing.”

The new funding will be used to scale commercial operations and partnerships with U.S. and North American providers and grow its R&D team, Wolf said.

More than a dozen medical centers are contributing to theator’s surgical video dataset, which currently contains more than 400,000 minutes of curated surgical video encompassing over 80,000 intraoperative moments.

“Our initial go-to market is academic medical centers, but once we have support there, we see theator helping community and rural hospitals,” Wolf said. “The idea is to support surgeons in smaller hospitals where today, they don’t have the ability to hone their skills.”

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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