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February 12, 2018 Startups & Entrepreneurs

LindaCare to deepen CT roots with $8.7M fundraise

HBJ photo | Matt Pilon LindaCare CEO Sharam Sharif pitches the judges at Connecticut Innovation's inaugural VentureClash in 2016. The company won a $500,000 prize that day helping solidify its future in Connecticut.
Matt Pilon

During the summer of 2016, when Connecticut Innovations was scouting Europe for startups to compete in its inaugural VentureClash investment competition, officials stumbled upon LindaCare, which was developing technology that allows doctors to remotely monitor patients with pacemakers and internal defibrillators.

At the same time, LindaCare was considering the U.S. as a potential expansion market.

Fast-forward to later that year, and LindaCare walked away from CI's VentureClash as one of several winners of a $500,000 investment prize.

“That was the start of things and our expansion in Connecticut,” LindaCare CEO Shahram Sharif said in a recent interview from the company's home country of Belgium. ”Connecticut came along and it was not a deliberate choice, but the more we thought about it, we said it's a great choice.”

For a company targeting hospitals and private physician practices, Connecticut is as good a beachhead as any, given the Northeast's dense healthcare market and the state's proximity to major population centers like Boston and New York.

LindaCare opened a Hartford office in Upward Hartford's co-working space at 20 Church St. last year, where it houses several employees.

That number is expected to grow after LindaCare last month raised about $8.7 million from investors, including publicly traded healthcare tech provider Philips, Connecticut Innovations ($735,000), and others.

Sharif said he hopes to have 10 employees in Hartford by year's end, including product and business development managers, a device technician and application engineer.

“Our intention is to build out the Hartford office,” he said.

The company's ultimate ambition is to go global, but the next big step in its business plan is to tap the U.S. market.

LindaCare is testing its remote-monitoring platform, OnePulse, with a handful of potential U.S.customers, including one Connecticut hospital, which Sharif declined to name.

The company has already been selling its technology in Europe. Sharif said LindaCare is making some changes to OnePulse to adapt it to the U.S. healthcare market and hopes to be selling the system here this year.

OnePulse can monitor four different types of heart implants, which are made by different manufacturers, Sharif said. Implant makers offer their own monitoring solutions, but LindaCare was able to corral the companies into an arrangement in which it could monitor all of them through one technology platform, he said.

The reason they've agreed, he said, is that repeat check-ups of recent implant patients is a challenge for doctors, driving up costs and using resources. Remote monitoring patients is more efficient and a better way to ensure improved outcomes, he added.

“We are creating value for their customers (hospitals and doctors), which will be an advantage for every player,” he said. LindaCare isn't the only company that's come up with the technology. Sharif said there are a few others offering unified platforms, but he thinks there's room for all, and that LindaCare's system has good ease of use.

“If you have such a huge market with only two or three players, that is still a very attractive market opportunity,” he said.

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