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Bengaluru-based AI startup NIRAMAI Health Analytix has raised an undisclosed amount of funding in a Seed round led by pi Ventures. Ankur Capital, Axilor Ventures, 500 Startups and Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal also participated in this round.

Founded in 2016 by Dr. Geetha Manjunath and Nidhi Mathur. While Geetha comes with 25 years of research and innovation expertise in areas such as data analytics, machine learning, cloud computing, semantic web, Nidhi is a serial intrapreneur with rich experience in business planning, strategy and product management. Both have previously worked with companies like Xerox Research Center and Hewlett Packard Labs.

NIRAMAI stands for Non Invasive Risk Assessment with Machine Learning. It is working on a non-invasive, radiation-free, painless and low-cost, cancer-screening solution. As per facts, 95% of breast cancers are curable if detected early. Yet 76,000 women die in India alone and more than 700,000 globally, every year, as stated by the company in an official statement. As stated in an official statement, NIRAMAI is on a mission to create a universal cancer screening method that can save lives by detecting breast cancer at an early stage.

Manish Singhal, Founding Partner, pi Ventures added, “Breast Cancer is a major killer across the world. In India, one out of two women die after getting diagnosed with breast cancer since the detection happens very late. Early detection is key to saving lives and is enabled very well with the innovative and disruptive AI based solution from NIRAMAI.”

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NIRAMAI uses artificial intelligence over thermal images to address the issues of early detection of breast cancer. The overall hardware-software solution is portable and uses big data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning for reliable, early and accurate breast cancer screening. Their method of screening is based on principles of Thermography that can detect tumors 5 years before mammography or a clinical exam can.

This investment will help the NIRAMAI team to strengthen their IP portfolio, expand operations and ensure their cancer screening tool is readily available for commercial use, as stated by Dr. Geetha.

Earlier this month, NIRAMAI also got selected to be a part of Axilor’s accelerator programme for the Summer 2017 batch.

A similar startup is Orbuculum which uses AI on genome data to predict diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. Orbuculum’s AI tool will help doctors diagnose chronic diseases early, thus reducing cost and improving effectiveness.

Then there is Medgenome, known for providing genomic solutions in cancer immunotherapy. Its unique access to genomics data with clinical and phenotypic (the physical and psychological characteristics of an organism from both genetics and environment) data provides insights into complex diseases at the genetic and molecular level, to facilitate research in personalised healthcare. Hyderabad based MapMyGenome is another similar startup.

As per a February 2017 report of CB Insights, globally deals to healthcare-focused AI startups went up from less than 20 in 2012 to nearly 70 in 2016. There are startups who are also rendering their services in other verticals of healthcare based on AI/ ML which includes remote patient monitoring (Tricog, Lybrate), patient data and risk analytics (Zephyr Health), Virtual assistants (Babylon) and more.

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