Key Stats: ARdVRk Technologies on SeedInvest
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The fundamental problem that ARdVRk aims to tackle is the ever-increasing level of complexity in the healthcare sector.
Human physiology is an intrinsically complex system. Really, it is a system of systems with various layers and interconnections.
Researchers hypothesize that this complexity is an evolutionary attribute. By maximizing flexibility and adaptability, a human being’s likelihood of surviving and thriving is increased.
The medical field must deal with this already-high level of intricacy everyday. But in the era of modern medicine, constant innovation drives the complexity level ever higher. The array of frontier technologies unfolding in the world of medicine is truly dizzying. From stem cells and regenerative medicine, smart pills,and AI-powered careto digital diagnostics, personalized medicine, and gene editing, medical science is constantly pushing forward for the next breakthrough.
These layers of complexity – arising from both biological intricacy and escalating technology – give rise to serious challenges at various points along the healthcare process.
- When Practitioners Try to Keep Up with New Treatment Approaches – With medical knowledge doubling every few months, even the most diligent physicians, nurses, and other medical practitioners have no realistic hope of staying current on all possible treatment options and methods of delivering medical care.
- When New Treatments are Being Tested – Clinical trials are the primary means by which new medical therapies are validated for safety, efficacy, and ultimately, readiness for regulatory approval. Unfortunately, audits of clinical trial execution reveal that the rates at which patients enrolled in the trials refuse to give informed consent are commonly 20% or greater. In many cases, these refusals occur because patients fail to understand the medical treatment being tested; the meaning of the clinical trial; the informed consent forms and procedures; or some combination thereof.
- When Patients Aren’t Able to Access Physicians – The chronic shortage of physicians in the US means that most Americans are likely to face some amount of difficulty in securing dependable access to direct care by doctors. These difficulties are heightened for access-challenged groups such as low-income households, rural residents, senior citizens etc. When patients can’t count on easy access to doctors to explain medical treatments, technological innovations, or key risks, they may struggle to develop a satisfactory grasp of these issues on their own.
ARdVRk is capitalizing on the immense didactic potential of Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality (AR/VR) technology, as a way to demystify medical treatment at multiple points along the chain of care. They have directly addressed the use cases listed above. ARdVRk’s technology enables medical practitioners to learn new technology through continuing their professional education. It also aids in driving higher enrollment in clinical trials and lower attrition rates by helping healthcare workers to better explain the trial to patients. Lastly, ArdVRk also provides patients with self-guided tools they can use to enhance their own understanding of medical issues.
The company’s vehicle for using AR/VR to illuminate potentially complex medical issues is its proprietary solution called Vital Recall. The Vital Recall platform is a bring-your-own-device (iOS- and Android-compatible) system that generates realistic, three-dimensional AR/VR avatars of the human body. The avatars can be used to visualize a wide range of concepts – ranging from anatomical features and functioning of key physiological mechanisms to the distribution or progression of disease and proposed placement of medical devices or application of therapies.
ARdVRk’s core business model is to sell access to its Vital Recall platform to key players in the healthcare sector – including pharmaceutical firms, medical device companies, insurers, and direct providers of care.
ARdVRk’s well-rounded C-suite – comprising the company’s CEO, CMO, CTO, and CoS – bring an impressive complement of combined experience. This collective experience includes former leadership of the Global Healthcare Practice at top-ranked consulting firm Bain & Co, a radiology fellowship at Harvard Medical School, and creation of a VR simulator for NASA.
Per the company’s Form C filing, ARdVRk generated $435K in revenue in 2019, representing a greater than 65% increase over the prior year’s revenue. The ARdVRk team expects to be able to maintain similar growth rates in upcoming years – with revenue projections of $1M for the full operating year of 2020 and a $5M revenue run rate by 2023.
The team’s confidence in these projections stems from their belief that they should be able to expand their contracts with existing customers. This contract development would arise as they grow more successful at enabling faster and cheaper clinical trials and more effective at training medical professionals. Ultimately, a major driver of ARdVRk’s adoption is the hope that it will lead to increased sales of pharmaceuticals and medical devices as this would bring profit for all involved parties. The ARdVRk team also plans to land new deals with pharmaceutical, medical device, and insurance companies as they grow.
Why We Like it
Tremendous Market Size Across a Huge Swath of the Healthcare Sector: Given what a broad group of healthcare activities ARdVRk’s platform can help stakeholders to visualize, it’s fair to characterize the company’s opportunity set as massive. One hefty component of its addressable market is the global clinical trials space, which is expected to grow to the size of $65B by 2025. Another sizable component of ARdVRk’s addressable opportunity is telehealth, which was estimated to be a $45B market in 2019, and could be even larger than clinical trials by 2026, at a global projection of $175B.
A Roster of Top-Tier Customers: ARdVRk’s revenues come from a set of customers that any healthcare technology provider would regard as downright enviable. The company’s roster of paying clients includes pharma giant AstraZeneca and medical device company Becton Dickinson (each of which have market caps over $70B), as well as 20,000-person biotech company CSL Behring.
These highly desirable customer organizations – each operating in the top echelons of their respective industries – confer a substantial degree of credibility on ARdVRk. That credibility should certainly bolster the company’s efforts to expand its customer list and grow revenues over the coming years.
An Impressive Contingent of Investors and Advisors: In addition to the formidable C-suite named above, ARdVRk also benefits from investors, board members, and advisors who are extremely well-connected in the pharma and biotech industries. For example, the Chairman of the company’s board, John O’Brien, was actually one of ARdVRk’s original co-founders, back in 2015. Prior to the launch of the company, he spent over a decade in various VP positions at AstraZeneca. Similarly, ARdVRk’s clinical advisor Bill Mezzanotte is EVP for R&D at customer firm CSL Behring. Having direct personal ties to these companies gives ARdVRk inroads by which it can champion its AR/VR platform and drive wide adoption across many divisions within each customer organization.
The versatility of ARdVRk’s avatar-driven Virtual Recall visualization platform commends it to the challenge of helping individuals contend with the relentless growth of complexity in healthcare.
Since the platform is suitable for helping patients and practitioners alike familiarize themselves with just about any kind of disease, treatment, or medical device imaginable, it should be appealing to the diverse types of potential customers that the ARdVRk team is aiming to onboard. In fact, ARdVRk already has top-tier paying customers in several of these segments of the healthcare sector (thanks in part to the strong ties it has to those organizations, via its executives, investors, board members, and advisors).
Perhaps the main areas where investors should be concerned with ARdVRk are the possibility of competition and the lack of audited financials. The medical technology market is highly competitive. Especially with emerging technology like AR/VR, there are many new players constantly trying to carve out a niche for themselves. If a company with more funding or even slightly better technology arises, ARdVRk could be left in the wayside. Secondly, the company has not provided any audited financials at this time. Investors should always be wary of a lack of financials as it introduces further uncertainty into an already uncertain endeavor.
It seems probable that ARdVRk will extend its streak of year-over-year revenue growth, as it continues to push its AR/VR platform out to the many settings within the healthcare sector where the platform can foster greater understanding of diseases and their treatments. With telehealth growing rapidly and AR/VR becoming more and more accessible, ARdVRk could be on the path to something great.