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Optomed: fundus imaging

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Optomed is a medical technology company that specializes in retinal imaging devices and solutions. “We develop, commercialize and manufacture modern, mobile and easy-to-use retinal imaging devices that are suitable for any clinic for screening of various eye diseases,” explains Seppo Kospala, CEO. “Our product is disruptive in a sense. Unlike traditional retinal imaging devices, our devices are hand-held, have high accuracy and can give you results in 10 seconds. With our solutions, the cost for performing eye examination is also lower - around 10% of the equivalent study cost with traditional devices. And with the integration of artificial intelligence, the readings are now proven fully reliable.”

The history of the company’s innovative product concept dates back to 1997, when a cooperation project was launched together with a visionary physician and a small group of engineers. As a result of this intensive technological development work, Optomed Oy (Ltd.) was established in December 2004.

Seppo explains that it took a long time before the company got it right: “The development phase lasted longer than ever expected. Despite holding more than 50 patents, the first 9 years were very difficult. We really struggled, but we all saw the progress and the need in the market and we kept going. We kept improving, but it was not until the 3rd and 4th generation of cameras that we finally had a product with commercial traction. You know, 90% good is not good enough. So we kept working on iterations until we finally got it right. But that’s all behind us now and today we are growing steadily…”

In the course of their growth, Optomed has been investing heavily in R&D – “around EUR 2-3m per year” Seppo adds. In 2016, the company received an EU-guaranteed loan from OP Corporate Bank, supported by the EIF under the EU’s Investment Plan for Europe. “This was perhaps our most important financial support because it acted as a strong signal, a catalyst to raise venture capital funding on much better terms. Banks don’t like to take that much risk in early-stage companies like ours, but with the EU guarantee, the risk was limited.”

With this support, Optomed have been able to develop software solutions alongside their handheld devices, offering AI solutions to read and analyse the data. Furthermore, they have been able to expand their range to the US, Chinese and Indian markets, growing the company from 40 to over 100 employees in the process.

Company: Optomed. (Finland)

Type of business: medical devices

EIF financing: InnovFin SMEG, EFSI

Financial intermediary: OP Corporate Bank

For further information about EIF intermediaries in Sweden, please refer to: http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/fi

 

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