Japan’s HoloEyes secures $1.3M series A, helps surgeons simulate operations in VR


See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based HoloEyes, the Japanese VR (virtual reality) startup specialized in the medical field by developing surgical simulation content for doctors, announced today that it has fundraised 150 million yen (about $1.3M US) from Nissay Capital in a series A round. This follows a seed round in which the company fundraised 10 million yen (around $89K US) from Japanese VR-focused acceleration program Tokyo VR Startups (TVS) after graduating from its its 2nd batch.

HoloEyes was founded back in October of 2016 by app developer Naoji Taniguchi (CEO and CTO), surgeon and visiting professor/associate professor at more than a few universities Dr. Maki Sugimoto (Managing Director and COO), and Kenichi Shinjo (Managing Director and CSO), who has previous work experience as the producer of AllAbout and COO of Appliya. In December of 2016 they won the Tech Lab Paak award at the Tech Lab Paak’s 6th batch Demo Day, and in January of 2017 they were awarded the Amazon AWS prize at the Demo Day of the 1st batch of “Brave”, the acceleration program by Tokyo-based life science-focused startup VC/accelerator Beyond Next Ventures’.

L to R: Dr. Maki Sugimoto (Director / COO), Naoji Taniguchi (CEO / CTO), Kenichi Shinjo (Director / CSO)

Images used for medical diagnosis such as CT scans, MRIs, and X-rays, are generally expressed in two dimensions. However, surgeons often assemble a three-dimensional image in their heads based on these images, perform diagnosis based on what they learn using their stethoscope, and then perform surgery. HoloEyes developed a VR content solution for medical use called HoloEyes VR with the idea that surgeons and other medical staff can understand more intuitively when they are provided with 3-dimensional images. Currently, the company provides cloud services that can convert patient-specific CT data into polygons and freely view them in 3D space via VR devices.

Collecting the data from CT scans, forming 3D human body models, and accumulating it creates a so-called medical VR database. For example, it could be possible by searching with the keywords “60s male prostate cancer” to retrieve 3D images of a similar case which can be used by a doctor for diagnosis, and then used for training for surgery. The possible use cases include pre-operative conferences (surgical planning), sharing surgical plans among medical staff, education for young doctors and students, and as explanation to patients, etc. They are assuming a business model that provides VR viewers to hospitals and sells the data gathered with patient consent to medical universities and pharmaceutical companies.

HoloEyes plans to use the funds raised this round to build the system and business base for HoloEyes VR and expand its staff.

Translated by Amanda Imasaka
Edited by Masaru Ikeda