Oculogica Receives Luis Villalobos Award for Innovation

By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

Congratulations to Oculogica, a New York City based life sciences company, who was awarded the Luis Villalobos Award this afternoon at the 2018 ACA Summit in Boston.  The Luis Villalobos Award recognizes outstanding ingenuity, creativity and innovation among startups backed by ACA members. 

Oculogica was selected by a committee of leading ACA member angels. The committee welcomes all innovative companies recently funded by ACA members to be part of this program and be considered for the Luis Villalobos Award, which is among the most disruptive and exciting opportunities for angels, the marketplace and innovation.

 “The selection committee had a particularly challenging time selecting just one of our four worthy finalists to be the Luis Villalobos Award winner this year.  Each company represents the innovation, persistence and progress that Luis demanded of entrepreneurs.  We congratulate all of this year’s participants, and especially our 2018 winner; Oculogica,” says committee member, Richard Sudek of Tech Coast Angels.

Allan May, Life Science Angels and selection committee member, adds, “This is a company that has done everything right.  Oculogica has done a terrific job of needs-finding to fully identify the issues in diagnosing concussion. Their solution better meets the needs of the broadest group of customers.  They are conducting their pivotal clinical trial and are poised to achieve de novo regulatory approval from the FDA having raised ~$5M in total equity cash and some non dilutive funding, which is very challenging to do. They were selected because of their high impact on individuals and excellent commercial potential. Oculogica systematically checked the boxes of what angels are looking for.  It is hard not to get excited about Oculogica.”

Founded in 2013 by Dr. Uzma Samadani, Oculogica developed cutting-edge new technology to track eye movements as a measurement for the severity of brain injuries, the EyeBOX.  This technology was developed to fill the need for an objective assessment for concussions, monitoring recovery process or to assess preventative tools.  Brain injuries are the contributing factor to a third of all injury-related deaths in the country, yet they are very difficult to diagnose.  Oculogica is working diligently to detect brain abnormalities resulting from concussions and other head injuries with this non-invasive and progressive device.

Oculogica has merged the use of computer and medical science to develop a solution to a serious and ongoing problem.  The company currently has eight patent families pending and one patent issued independently.   The advanced technology has been undergoing validation at the US Olympic Training Center since 2015 and the Department of Defense since 2016.  EyeBOX has completed full safety testing and is currently involved two FDA pivotal trails; one trial for concussion and the other for elevated intracranial pressure.

As the lead investor, Golden Seeds structured terms and lead multiple rounds of financing for Oculogica.  Golden Seeds presented the opportunity to ACA’s life sciences group and to the ACA’s new women’s entrepreneur group to help with broadening syndication of the organization.

Matias Healy of Golden Seeds says, “The Oculogica team has managed to combine medical and computer science to develop an innovative solution to a serious problem.”

This fast-growing company has raised $3.6 million in two equity financing rounds and $1.8 million in a convertible note.  Demonstrating the power of angel investors, the following groups invested in Oculogica: Golden Seeds Oculogica LLC, Golden Seeds Fund 2, Golden Seeds Innovate NY Fund, Seraph Investments, Sofia Angel Fund, Stanford Start X Fund, NYU Innovation Venture Fund, Nebraska Angels, MHI Ventures, FIN Capital, SE Minneapolis Angels and Sawmill Capital.

ACA would like to congratulate Oculogica on their outstanding work and representation of startup innovation and ingenuity.  We also congratulate the other three finalists for the award, Catalyst Orthoscience, CNote and Photonicare.