Ubenwa raises $2.5 million to understand crying babies with A.I
Health Startups Technology

Ubenwa raises $2.5 million to understand crying babies with A.I

Ubenwa, a pioneer health-tech firm that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to diagnose newborns between the ages of 0 and 6 months, has secured $2.5 million in pre-seed fundraising to scale its operations and implement its go-to-market plan.

Charles Onu, a Nigerian with experience in the medical industry and significant AI practice, created the Montreal-based firm in 2017. When his cousin was born with birth asphyxia and later had a hearing issue, the seed for Ubenwa, the audio biometric company dedicated to detecting neurological diseases in infants, was sown.

Onu, CEO and co-founder, expressed hope that Ubenwa will transform how physicians care for infants.
“We’re trying to bring the world to a point where infant cries are considered to be a vital sign just as much as we would consider their heart rate to be a vital sign,” he explained in an interview with TechCrunch.

Ubenwa is a pioneer in developing an automated sound-based diagnostic solution for infants, leveraging cutting-edge AI and years of scientific study.

Ubenwa has raised $2.5 million ($3.2 million Canadian) in a pre-seed round led by Radical Ventures, including AIX Ventures, Yoshua Bengio, Hugo Larochelle of Google Brain, and Marc Bellemare.

The company’s focus has hitherto been on creating the technology, but the funding raised in this round will allow it to do a beta launch and commence testing. According to Ubenwa, it will also potentially enable the company to begin incorporating its technology into baby monitors.

Onu plans to petition for FDA and Health Canada approval when the studies are over.
Ubenwa, an independent firm, is a result of Onu’s team’s study in Mila, a world-renowned AI center in Quebec, Canada, since 2017. However, Ubenwa’s influence is felt in more than one country. Ubenwa boasts the largest and most diversified archive of clinically annotated infant cry sounds, thanks to strategic agreements with major institutions in Nigeria, Brazil, and Canada.

In a statement to TechCabal, Onu, also the CEO of Ubenwa, described Ubenwa’s solution as one that distinguishes between an infant’s natural cries and disease-causing cries for help.

Sanjana Basu, an investor from Radical Ventures, will join Ubenwa’s board as part of the fundraising collaboration. Basu expressed confidence in the investment in Ubenwa, stating that the demand for digital products such as Ubenwa’s software solutions—mobile app and API—remains high.

Ubenwa is presently allowing parents and hospitals to sign up as early users of its app. According to Onu, this private testing will assist the company in gathering comprehensive use-case data that will be utilized to develop Ubenwa’s suite of infant cry-diagnosis software.

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