A few years back, I had a small heart scare that turned out to be nothing. But, in order to diagnose its very nothingness, I was given a cardiac-rhythm monitoring device that looked a lot like those buzzers you’re given while waiting at a crowded restaurant. Whenever I felt some discomfort or irregularity, I’d place it on my chest and hold down “record” for a few minutes. Then I’d call a toll-free number and play back the recording. If it was problematic, they’d call my doctor. If not, they’d leave me alone.
This is called a loop recorder, and is apparently the lesser of two current cardiac-rhythm monitoring devices. The other is a halter monitor, which stays on full time for a few days. Both devices, however, are ancient by medical device standards, particularly when one considers that about 25 million American present with some sort of cardiac condition each year (around 10 million of whom have a relevant family history or other risk factors).
So it’s time for a next-generation device, and one company at work on it is called iRhythm Technologies Inc. The San Francisco-based startup was formed last year, and first received a small boost of publicity when it won a $10,000 business plan competition at the Boomer Venture Summit held at Santa Clara University.
Now it’s raised far more, with a $12.5 million Series A round from Mohr Davidow Ventures and Synergy Life Science Partners. iRhythm has only called down around $2.5 million so far, with the rest dependent on the company hitting various clinical and/or time milestones. Company management includes Stanford fellow Uday Kumar and former CardioNet executive William Willis.
I called new iRhythm board member – and Vox Populi contributor – Michael Goldberg of MDV, but he declined comment because the company remains in stealth mode.