Medical device startup Voxello raises funds, gets FDA clearance

The noddle. (Courtesy of Voxello)

A Coralville startup has brought in its first equity investment round and hit a regulatory milestone as it pushes its medical device further to being market ready.

Voxello has raised an investment round of about $800,000, CEO Rives Bird told Clay & Milk this week.

Mid-America Angels, a Kansas-based angel network, led the recent round with a $287,000 investment.

“Effective communication between patient and provider is critical to the delivery of safe, high-quality healthcare. … Mid-America Angels is excited to be coming aboard as an engaged partner,” Mid-America Angels Managing Director Rick Vaughn said in a statement.

The company has developed a medical device known as the “noddle” to aid hospitalized patients who can’t otherwise speak communicate. The noddle can detect motions or sounds, such as tongue clicks, that can be used to call nurses or, integrated with speech software, help a patient talk.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also cleared the noddle for market, Voxello announced this week.

While Bird said Voxello could start broadly selling the device, the company has a soft launch planned for hospitals in Philadelphia and Chicago to further test how the noddle works in a real-world environment.

“This has never been in a hospital before,” Bird said. “So, when that happens you don’t really know all of the decision makers, the flag bearers, the influencers. We believe we know who a lot of those people are, but until you get into the hospital and you start working with them, you don’t know all of those things.”

The soft launch will take between six and nine months.

Bird said Voxello will use its recent fundraise to hire more staff, further development and continue clinical trials of the noddle. Voxello has five employees currently and previously raised $525,000 in non-equity funds, he said.

Previously known as Iowa Adaptive Technologies, Voxello was founded by a student team at the University of Iowa.

Voxello is eyeing another fundraising round, Bird said.

Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at mpatane@clayandmilk.com.