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Saturday, Dec 9, 2023

Telemedicine Startup Debuts App in Vietnam

A telemedicine startup debuted its app in Vietnam last week. Irvine-based Jio Health created an app that provides residents of emerging countries such as Vietnam with greater access to healthcare providers. The company targeted the Asia-Pacific region first, since access to quality healthcare in large parts of the region is not of the caliber of more developed countries, founder and Chief Executive Raghu Rai said.

“Access to quality healthcare in emerging markets is typically frustrating and complex,” Rai said. “The Jio Health platform is here to change that.” 

The app lets patients create and manage their personal health profiles with vital information, such as their weight and blood pressure. When they need care, patients click on an “I need a doctor” button in the app to be connected to a specialist in their area. Doctors can then access the patient profiles and deliver care quickly, Rai said.

The company chose Vietnam as its initial market since it’s one of the fastest growing markets in Southeast Asia, according to Rai. It partnered with Saigon ITO Hospital, which is ranked the sixth best private hospital in that country, he said.  

Jio Health has raised two rounds of seed funding, the first from friends and family, and the second from angel investors, Rai said. The two rounds totaled $2 million, he said, adding that the startup will likely do a Series A round of financing in May.

Ultimately Jio Health intends to expand into markets including Singapore, India and the Philippines, partnering with both public and private hospitals, he said.

Jio means “to live” in Sanskrit.

3-D Capture Startup Funded

A startup that created a minimalistic way to capture 3-D video has been funded by the OC Cove Fund I LLC. The fund of approximately $5.5 million, comprised of three angel investors, provides startup money for new OC-based ventures. The fund—housed at The Cove but independent from it—invested $250,000, the maximum it gives any individual startup.

icClarity, based in incubator EvoNexus in Irvine, was founded by Raouf Halim, the former chief executive of Mindspeed. He left Mindspeed shortly after it was acquired in 2013 by Lowell, Mass.-based MACOM.

Halim created a “breakthrough” in 3-D video capture, he said. Typically, 3-D devices provide depth by using multiple cameras, which require a lot of space, burn a lot of power and therefore cost a lot, he said.

He created patented technology for a unique 3-D video sensor chip and the software that drives it, which only requires one camera. The sensor is applicable for both the augmented and virtual reality markets, he said.

“It’s a fundamental innovation in the way that 3-D depth info is captured,” he said.

The funding will enable icClarity to develop a prototype and ultimately bring a product to market, Halim said. Building out the software development team is one part of the process, he added.

icClarity previously raised an undisclosed amount from its principals and founders. The San Diego office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati also pitched in, Halim said. The startup is considering raising a Series A round this year or early next year, he said.

HomeUnion Raises Millions

HomeUnion, based in Irvine, recently got its second round of funding. HomeUnion is an online real estate investment and management platform for single-family rental properties. It just raised $16 million in Series B funding from new investors San Francisco-based Colchis Capital, Danville-based Northgate Capital and Irvine-based Tamarisc, as well as existing investor Artiman, its main venture capital source that’s based in East Palo Alto. HomeUnion has received a total of $23 million in funding from venture capital firms and closed more than $50 million in real estate transactions since its inception in September 2011.

The company handles all aspects of the real estate investment transactions from start to finish, as well as property management, through its in-house asset management division. HomeUnion buys properties on behalf of investors using limited power of attorney. Its investors then own the properties and can sell them using HomeUnion’s online platform.

“HomeUnion pioneered the concept of personalized, remote investing in fully managed residential properties, and our latest round of funding illustrates the faith VC firms continue to have in this business model,” CFO Chiranjib “CP” Pal said. “With a second round of financing, we will continue to expand into new products and markets nationwide while growing our data science division to ensure the release of industry-leading research that helps investors build wealth.”

Social Entrepreneurs Advance in Competition

Eleven social entrepreneurs presented their business concepts—tackling social issues including clean water, military veterans’ homelessness, and strengthening local economies—

at the Southern California Social Entrepreneurship Venture Challenge “Showdown” on March 19 at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo.

A panel of OC judges selected three winners of the competition: Cambridge, Mass.-based Takachar, which works to decentralize the disposal of agricultural waste into solid fuel; Pasadena-based codeSpark, which teaches the basics of computer science to children 5 years and older; and London-based Desolenator, which created an affordable, eco-friendly, residential water purification/desalination system.

The startups will present at an investor-only symposium in Long Beach on May 6, where at least $30,000 will be awarded. The Newport Beach-based Academies for Social Entrepreneurship, founded by Betsy Densmore, produces the competition.

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