Traditionally, gastroenterologists had to rely on DVDs and external hard drives in order to record and keep any video footage of the procedure. But Virgo, a startup out of San Francisco, wants to make the process easier.
The company has developed a cloud-based platform for recording colonoscopies. Virgo’s device can be plugged into the digital video output on a hospital’s endoscopy tower. That device, which is similar in form factor to an Apple TV, interfaces with a HIPAA-compliant web portal. With the push of a button, a gastroenterologist can start and stop recording the procedure. After the colonoscopy, the provider can rewatch the video and mark it up in the cloud.
Virgo is also working on bringing voice control capabilities to its platform. It plans to beta test this feature later this year, with a full launch anticipated in 2019.
The Silicon Valley startup was officially founded in early 2017 by Matt Schwartz (CEO), David Guaraglia (CTO) and Ian Strug (chief customer officer).
Schwartz initially saw the need for technology like this while serving as a product manager at Intuitive Surgical, which makes the da Vinci robotic surgery system.
“I felt the pain of how archaic the existing video recording equipment is in medical procedures,” he said in a recent phone interview.
He joined forces with Guaraglia and Strug to create the company, which went on to be part of the Techstars NYC summer 2017 program.
By early April of this year, Virgo secured a $1.5 million seed funding round led by angel investor Tom Williams. Esther Dyson, Techstars Ventures, Radical Ventures, Graph Ventures, SK Ventures and Techammer also participated.
As far as clients are concerned, the company got its beta sites off the ground while it was participating in the Techstars program, Schwartz said. These include a beta with Rush in Chicago, as well as a small beta with a private endoscopy group in the Phoenix area. Less than a month ago, the company went live at Northwestern University. Schwartz added that Virgo has been in discussions with other academic medical centers throughout the country.
In terms of pricing, the startup offers a tiered model so customers can pay based on the number of physician users or based on data usage.
Going forward, one of Virgo’s key goals is to increase its growth in sales. Schwartz said the company is also looking capture more than 100,000 colonoscopy visits over the next 12 months.
But in a larger sense, its aim is to help patients get screened for colorectal cancer, particularly as the American Cancer Society just recommended individuals should start getting screened at age 45 (instead of the previously suggested age 50).
“We hope getting more of that video out there will help get patients more engaged,” Schwartz said.