23 Aug Madison startup for saving NICU babies is heading to Silicon Valley
A pair of Madison computer scientists who created a tool to help premature babies like theirs is heading to Silicon Valley to make their pitch to investors, after giving the winning presentation at the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce’s annual Pressure Chamber startup competition Tuesday.
Wife-husband team Ravneet Kaur and Harpreet Singh founded Child Health Imprints to bring new technology to neonatal intensive care units, or NICUs, which house sick and premature babies.
“Neonates in this scenario are connected with various medical devices to continuously monitor their organs, regularly producing several gigabytes of patient data which is untapped,” Kaur told the judges. Her startup’s iNICU device lets doctors and nurses view data from all those devices on a single monitor, and it uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to predict common diseases by identifying patterns in that untapped data.
It’s not the pair’s first time developing and pitching a new tech tool. Just over a decade ago, they were part of a team that developed Net Scope, a technology that records brain activity alongside audio and video of a participant’s behavior, which was sold to health tech conglomerate Philips.
But the new venture is personal, inspired by their own children’s time in the NICU after Kaur gave birth to twins at just 28 weeks of pregnancy. One died of sepsis a week later. The other, now 12, spent nearly two months in the hospital.
As a result, Singh said, he and Kaur understand the problem in a way that their competitors might not. “It’s a very hard feeling to understand what parents go through. Usually for big device companies, the NICU is a very complex and difficult domain because the babies don’t give you any feedback. They can just cry,” Singh said. “So you have connected devices, gigabytes of data, and no clue because the patient or the customer is not giving you any feedback.”