Activ Surgical augments VC funding with $45M for AR-based software

Augmented reality has sent people dashing into traffic to catch Pokémon, helped them virtually map out home makeovers and guided them through winding city streets. Now, it’s being used to enhance surgeons’ views throughout an operation.

That’s the aim of Activ Surgical’s ActivInsights, a suite of software programs that will eventually comprise a wide range of AR overlays adding real-time analytics and guidance to surgical monitors.

To support that goal and get the first components of ActivInsights into the hands of surgeons around the world, Activ Surgical recently closed a series B funding round that reeled in an additional $45 million for the Boston-based company.

The new funding more than doubles Activ’s lifetime fundraising tally, which hit $32 million last year with the close of a $15 million venture round in July. The series B came courtesy of a baker’s dozen of investors led by Cota Capital. Bobby Yazdani, a founder and partner of the investment firm, will join Activ’s board of directors.

New investors Nvidia, BAM Funds, Magnetar Capital, Mint Ventures, Castor Ventures and Dream One Vision also chipped in, alongside existing investors DNS Capital, Tao Capital Partners, LRVHealth, Rising Tide VC, GreatPoint Ventures and ARTIS Ventures, the last of which led the previous VC round in 2020.

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In addition to developing new AR-based programs, called Insights, to be added to ActivInsights, Activ will use its series B take to expand the software’s availability in the U.S., where it officially launched in June. The company will also continue pursuing CE mark approval in Europe to begin the global rollout of ActivInsights.

The first Insight available offers measurements of tissue perfusion in real time, allowing surgical teams to assess bloodflow throughout a procedure without requiring patients to ingest fluorescent dye, a common method used to monitor perfusion in the operating room.

Future additions to ActivInsights will be powered by machine learning, computer vision and other types of artificial intelligence, as well as robotics. Each of these programs will be built on Activ’s massive repository of annotated imaging data, which will be used to train the automated analytics tools.

“Activ Surgical is on pace to solve the ‘last mile’ challenge for the surgical field and revolutionize the operating room as we know it,” Yazdani said in a statement. “The company’s cutting-edge product portfolio, coupled with its talented and experienced leadership team and staff, has the potential to deliver world-class surgery, regardless of geography or economic status, while helping to save lives and reduce medical complications.”

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The ActivInsights software programs are housed on Activ Surgical’s core platform, ActivEdge. That’s also home to ActivSight, the company’s first product, an imaging module that was cleared by the FDA in April.

ActivSight connects to a standard laparoscope or arthroscope on one side and any surgical camera system on the other. From there, it’ll enhance the camera’s feed to include automated measurements of tissue perfusion and vascularity. Those analytics are generated by ActivEdge’s machine learning tools during intraoperative imaging procedures.