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Business trends

Singapore startup provides heart diagnosis in a heartbeat

AI-driven EKG analysis system to launch in Japan through venture funding

TOKYO -- A Singapore-based health care tech startup has set its sights on the Japanese market after receiving fresh funding.

Tricog Health diagnoses the risk of heart disease in minutes through analysis of electrocardiogram results by its cloud-connected artificial intelligence system. 

The company recently raised some 440 million yen ($4 million) from investors including venture capital company The University of Tokyo Edge Capital.

The new relationship allows Tricog to explore opportunities in Japan, and CEO Charit Bhograj said he hopes to capitalize on UTEC's connections with medical instrument manufacturers and health care institutions in the country.

The AI system analyzes EKG readings it receives from medical institutions and compares the data against past results to gauge the risk of heart disease in a patient. The company's doctors then examine the data of people the system has identified as high-risk individuals and provide a final diagnosis.

Tricog, which employs 30 data scientists and 20 doctors, claims it takes a maximum of just six minutes to provide a diagnosis.

Clinics in remote areas often lack heart disease specialists, and the service enables any facility with an EKG machine to tap in to the same kind of expertise as a large urban hospital.

Bhograj, a cardiologist himself, established Tricog in 2014 with a group of co-founders including a former researcher at IBM and a former member of Texas Instruments' self-driving technology development team.

The service is currently available in 12 countries, including India and Singapore, where it has resulted in about 20,000 patients being alerted to their risk of heart disease. The company's revenue totaled about $1 million in the year ended December.

At present, the system can only be used in conjunction with EKG machines made by General Electric, but the company plans to make it compatible with Japanese-made machines.

The funding from UTEC is the first investment Tricog has received from a Japanese venture capital fund. The two companies first came into contact last August at an event in Singapore organized by Deloitte Tohmatsu Venture Support.

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