Charco Neurotech today announced its $10M seed round which is the largest European healthtech seed round of 2021. Charco is a medtech spinout from Imperial College London that develops solutions for people with Parkinson’s disease. We have been backing Charco since their preseed round in 2020.
Parkinsons’ Disease is a neurodegenerative disease, causing movement symptoms including slowness, stiffness and freezing whilst walking. Charco Neurotech’s core product is a wearable device called CUE1. The patient sticks the CUE1 onto their chest (sternum) from where it sends vibrations to the patient’s body. These timed vibrations create ‘neuromodulation’ within the patient’s nervous system, helping to alter the way that the patient perceives nerve impulses. CUE1 has demonstrated improvements in the way Parkinson’s patients feel and reduces their motor symptoms. There is now a 5,000 person waiting list for CUE1.
Charco are currently building an app to accompany their CUE1 wearable device. This allows patients and their families to track symptoms, assess progress in real time and measure treatment adherence. The data collected from the app might also enable the addition of deep learning to help make predictions on therapy for future patients. This addition of a healthtech application to a medtech device is what makes the company exciting to us at Crista Galli Ventures.
There are currently around 10 million people with Parkinson’s worldwide. As the global population grows with a growing segment of elderly people, the prevalence of Parkinson’s increases. Analysts forecast the Parkinson’s disease market to reach $11.5Billion by 2029. Most current treatments are drug therapies. This is what makes the CUE1 system so novel and exciting as it is non-invasive and doesn’t involve a drug therapy.
Parkinson’s partnerships: R&D and patient communities.
Charco was founded in 2019 by Lucy Jung and Floyd Pierre. They have always focused on building communities around their product. From the earliest days, Charco have taken the time to understand the needs of the Parkinson’s patient community. This has enabled them to develop a product that is designed around patients. Charco have realised that whilst Parkinson’s patients are older, they are digital savvy. These patients were seeking technological solutions and have helped Charco to design their product roadmap to an app to accompany the CUE1.
Charco’s partnership building is also evident with their research collaborations and their partnerships with advocacy groups and patient communities including their new partnership with European Parkinson’s Disease Association.
International investor interest.
We are proud to have backed Charco since their earliest days at preseed via our Crista Galli LABS programme. We set up our LABS initiative to back under-represented founders at the earliest stage as we realised that they are often overlooked at the earliest stages of investment in Europe. This has paid off for Charco Neurotech whose international seed round was led by Amadeus Capital in Cambridge with participation from Parkwalk Advisors, University of Tokyo Edge Capital Partners (UTEC), MINT Venture Partners from Korea and ourselves at Crista Galli Ventures. It is the largest European seed round in 2021 and the 6th largest globally for healthtech devices.
We are very proud of the Charco team and look forward to backing Charco Neurotech as they build the future of healthcare for Parkinson’s patients.
To find out more about Charco: https://www.cristagalli.com/portfolio/charco-neurotech/