Blackbird is pleased to build our ownership in See-Mode as part of their US$7M Series A round that was led by MassMutual Ventures. Niki is joining the board as part of the round. This follows on from our participation in See-Mode's seed round last year.

The mission of See-Mode is to predict the recurrence of strokes by detecting plaque build-ups and modelling blood flow using machine learning and computational fluid dynamics.

Healthcare Investing at Blackbird

Last year, when sharing our principles around healthcare software investing to our own investors we led with: "as always, we look for a particular type of relentlessly resourceful founder who can accomplish a lot with a small amount of capital and a small amount of time."

From See-Mode's $1M seed round two years ago, they have built their first product, received regulatory approval and signed their first customers.

Milad and Sadaf, the two co-founders of See-Mode, have showcased their grit and determination by relocating the whole company from Singapore to Melbourne after seeing the kind of technical team they could hire there. Every Blackbird team member commented during the investment decision process on the exceptional progress both have had in their founder journeys.

Sequencing

See-Mode's product roadmap involves three steps. The first product step, which has allowed them to sell to their first customer and get regulatory approval, helps to automate the reports which vascular sonographers laboriously compile after each ultrasound. Each sonographer completes 10 ultrasounds a day, and See-Mode gives them back a quarter of their working day by automatically analysing the images and creating a report that they approve.

In this sense, the first product, AVA, is a productivity tool rather than diagnosing or predicting medical conditions, so the regulatory approval process was relatively simple compared to the more ambitious, longer-term aims of the product.

The next two products go straight to the crux of what predicts a stroke: plaque composition and blood flow. There are currently no products that determine these two critical factors.

See-Mode hopes to have a product that addresses both factors through See-Mode PlaQ that identifies plaque composition and See-Mode Flow that detects high-risk blood flow. The initial performance is encouraging, with See-Mode correctly identifying plaque composition 89% of the time, compared to experts, who can be as low as 62%.

As well as the efficacy, the PlaQ product allows the analysis to be done on a regular, basic ultrasound or CT that is significantly cheaper than a $2,000 high-resolution MRI which is usually needed to determine plaque composition.

Series A

By the end of 2021, See-Mode hopes to progress all aspects of their product roadmap and to grow their team from 8 to 21.

They will use this Series A round to build their R&D and engineering team, as well as for clinical studies that will provide access to data that powers See-Mode's product development and algorithms.

Ultimately, technology companies are the people who create them.

As Niki Scevak said in this morning's Wild Hearts episode on See-Mode, "the world truly is divided into people who do things and people who talk about things. With such a small amount of capital in their seed round, and such a small amount of time, they went and built a wonderful product."

"Sadaf single-handedly wrangled regulatory approval in a matter of months, they built a wonderful team in Melbourne full of talented engineers, and there were no complaints — It's just results, results, results."

We have zero doubt that See-Mode will reach their milestones and continue to blow us away with their laser focus and hustle.