South African e-health startup the hearX Group has raised just over US$2.8 million from international investors and funding grants over the last 16 months to help it expand internationally and build its product range.
Developed at the University of Pretoria by Prof De Wet Swanepoel and Dr Herman Myburgh in 2013, the hearX Group launched as a startup during 2015.
Its first product, hearScreen, was a smartphone app that detects hearing loss and links patients to health services. The product uses a smartphone and headphones, together with a custom-developed software application, to detect hearing loss, incorporating real-time environmental monitoring during testing to ensure compliant noise levels.
Now active in 25 countries across the world and actively expanding, the funding raised by the startup includes capital investment from international partners from Europe and Southeast Asia to the tune of over US$2.2 million, while the hearX Group has also received more than US$500,000 in grant funding.
“These investments will be used to scale existing solutions, research and development of new products, and to gain access to new markets globally,” said Nic Klopper, chief executive officer (CEO) of the hearX Group.
The company said the investment and support from strategic international partners underscores its success, acknowledging the value and potential of its innovative digital solutions for healthy hearing.
Since launching its flagship product hearScreen, the startup has gone to market with several other products, including hearZA, mHealth Studio, hearTest and hearDigits, as well as a partner product in vision called Peek Vision.
These m-health and cloud-based solutions offer decentralised, low-cost access to ear and hearing care that have reached more than 70,000 people so far, while the grant funding will spearhead several community-based projects in Sub-Saharan Africa over the next two years to test up to 100,000 people.
In addition, the hearX Group is now launching a world-first smartphone device, called hearScope, to look into ears and visualise the eardrum. Its crowdfunding launch will go live on Indiegogo on August 1.