BlueDot, a Toronto-based social benefit corporation founded by Dr. Kamran Khan, an infectious disease physician and scientist, tracks and predicts the global spread of infectious diseases.
BlueDot has secured a Series A venture capital funding from Horizons Ventures. Horizons invested in Facebook, Skype, Waze, Siri, and Spotify at early stages.
“We are excited about our partnership with Horizons because of their track record in helping companies amplify the impact of innovative technology,” said Albert Tseng, chief operating officer of BlueDot. “Another fundamental backbone of the partnership is that Horizons shares our vision of using business to address important social challenges in the world; in our case using technology to predict and mitigate against the spread of dangerous infectious diseases.”
The company is the fourth in MaRS Innovation’s portfolio to reach Series A. MaRS Innovation provided $400,000 in seed funding. The Ontario Centres of Excellence also provided $140,000 in commercialization grants that helped BlueDot get off the ground.
“BlueDot is well-positioned to build on its existing relationships within the global healthcare community and expand its disease-tracking and prediction products into the business sector,” said Dr. Raphael Hofstein, president and CEO of MaRS Innovation. “Digital health technologies have shown remarkable market traction in 2014 and we’re excited by the prospects of this and other companies in our portfolio. I’d like to recognize Fanny Sie and Joel Liederman for their leadership of this project.”
BlueDot is the commercial arm of Dr. Khan’s academic research program called BioDiaspora, which was developed at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s.
“As a clinician on the front lines in New York City, where West Nile virus first appeared in North America, and then in Toronto when SARS crippled the city, it was clear to me that the world would be experiencing more of these high-impact outbreaks,” Dr. Khan said. “But as a scientist, the ability to produce and distribute valuable information to decision-makers was limited by the slow process of publishing in academic journals. By fusing the academic mindset of discovery with ‘disruptive technology’ in big data analysis and visualization, I knew we would have a far greater impact in responding to rapidly evolving outbreaks in real time.”