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MedWand Expects $50M in Sales As Device Grows at Homes and More

When Bob Rose made a medical device called MedWand that can test a heartbeat and other vital signs, he became its first test subject.

“I put my thumb on it and said ‘what the heck is that?’ There was something wrong with it,” Rose recalled.

“No, it was something wrong with me. I didn’t know I was having issues with my heart.

“You could argue that the first life MedWand saved was mine. Hopefully this is the first in a long line of lives saved,” he said.

Rose is the co-founder and chief executive of Rancho Santa Margarita-based MedWand Solutions Inc.

The company has built what it calls “the 21st century digital house call,” a product that allows a doctor to remotely examine a patient. The medical grade device has a thermometer, stethoscope, EKG, pulse oximeter and high definition camara.

“Imagine being able to treat patients in their homes with hospital-level care,” said Michael Kurlian, MedWand’s vice president of clinical quality and integration.

Sister Exam

The idea came after a doctor experienced trouble examining his sister by video phone and asked Rose if a device could be made to remotely examine a patient.

While telemedicine took off during the pandemic, it has a serious drawback.

“Teledoc doesn’t include vitals,” Rose said. “Although telemedicine is a good thing that saves money and time, a webcam is not a diagnostic device.”

Rose has a long history as both an entrepreneur in medical device manufacturing and working in senior leadership positions for large technology corporations like Tandy Corp. and CompUSA.

In 2013, he started his own contract engineering firm, Cypher Scientific that he’s since folded into MedWand.

Red Digital Ties

Perhaps the key prior experience for Rose was five years spent at Red Digital Camera, the local high-tech digital camera company begun by entrepreneur Jim Jannard, who also started Foothill Ranch’s Oakley.

Rose’s experience at Red Digital includes leading the transition from engineering startup to manufacturing and as its new technology acquisition leader.

“We’re camera guys—we know how to do this,” Rose said. “We have really powerful cameras that are 4K.

“When we take pictures, we make sure the color balance is dead on, the exposure is correct, the focus is correct because it’s important for a doctor from remote to make a diagnosis. You don’t want to see a patient with green skin.”

In 2014, Rose partnered with Dr. Samir Qamar to form MedWand, which includes other employees from Red Digital. They built a rough prototype that they showed at Health 2.0, a San Jose conference where about 3,000 investors annually attend to learn about emerging healthcare devices.

That event attracted a seed money investment from MIT Alumni Angels Northern California; also, about 60 friends and relatives invested in the firm.

In the past nine years, the company’s spent about $22 million. Its chairman is Peter Farrow, who was CEO of Group Health Cooperative of Eau Clair, a Wisconsin-based nonprofit health care cooperative.

Mouse-Like

The MedWand, which looks like a big computer mouse, has a thermometer, digital stethoscope, pulse oximeter, ECG and ultra high- definition camera, powered by a supplied 10” Android OS tablet.

Its sensors can monitor blood pressure, blood sugar level, weight, height, pain and spirometry.

“You pick up your MedWand and you have a doctor examine you in real time,” Rose said.

“The doctor can listen to your lungs and heart. Look into your ears, nose, throat. Take an EKG. Take your temperature, blood pressure, just like you were there.”

The MedWand can use peripherals such as a weight scale and blood pressure cups for additional measurements. The company’s working on adding an ultrasound.

It also developed an online platform called VirtualCare to keep track of the data.

“We started out to make a device and ended up building an entire ecosystem,” Rose said.

$50M Run Rate

Late last year, MedWand won FDA approval as a Class 2 medical grade device.

The MedWand costs $895 each and can be reused several times. A subscription plan can also cost around $179 to $279 a month. A Wisconsin contract manufacturer is building the product.

Thus far, Medwand’s sold out through this year, expecting to ship 20,000 units by next April and 100,000 by the end of 2024.

Rose sees a huge potential, pointing out that 60 million in the U.S. live more than a 30-minute drive from a healthcare facility. He envisions MedWand as a device for airplanes, ships, trucks, nursing homes and schools.

By end of the 2024, he’s projecting a $50 million annual run rate that he’d like to double in 2025.

$100M Valuation

The company, currently valued at about $100 million, is seeking another round of funding that he hopes will double its valuation.

“We’re deep into the A round cycle. I have a couple companies that you’d know at the table.”

MedWand currently has 17 employees with plans to have 40 by the end of this year.
Corporations that emphasize wellness could use the system to monitor employees to prevent strokes, for which 20% go undetected, he said.

“It could help avoid 4 to 5 million annual strokes with proactive screenings,” he said. “The fact that we have early detection could be a paradigm change.

“We can turn the standard of care on its head.”

MedWand CEO Finds Joy in Sky

Bob Rose, who picked up flying as a hobby a couple of decades ago, volunteers his time and plane for Angel Flight West to fly people in need.

He became an outreach coordinator where he uses his own Cirrus SR20 turbo, single engine four-seater.

“We fly a lot of patients who need to get from rural areas to major medical centers for treatments,” he said.

“It’s a cool way to do something other than a $100 hamburger run.”

The organization has given him its “Golden Halo Award.”

He particularly enjoys flying children who have been victims of burns or HIV to summer camps.

“When they get together with other kids who are also burn victims, the social stigma goes away. Same thing with HIV-positive kids.

“It’s some of the most satisfactory work.”

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