Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we’re talking with Dr Elliot Smith, CEO of medical AI startup Maxwell Plus.
In 128 words or less, explain your business idea
Maxwell’s vision is to diagnose non-communicable disease accurately and before it happens. We do this by using world-class Artificial Intelligence (AI) to analyse data alongside a collaborative care team delivering the best information to form a patient’s personalised care. We’re initially focusing on prostate cancer; managing the risk, detection and diagnosing lesions.
With a planned launch date in 2019, this technology will have the power to give men confidence and control over their risk of prostate cancer and equip clinicians with additional tools to improve early detection. We also plan on expanding to breast and lung cancer, as well as neurodegenerative disease.
What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?
In 2016 we sought angel funding to commence Maxwell Plus. Following the initial investment, we went through the Muru-D/RCL Accelerator in November 2016 to February 2017. Further funding was raised through a venture round in 2017 where we raised $3.4m with Main Sequence Ventures, the BDF and angel investors.
We envision future funding to come from the combination of commercial sales in late 2018 and growth capital commencing in January 2019. We will investigate grants for research, as well as collaboration opportunities. Post launch in 2019, we will also receive sales income.
How do you differentiate your business from your competitors?
Our areas of expertise include prostate, breast and lung cancer, and neurodegenerative disease. Unlike our competitors, who are solely targeting clinicians, our software takes it one step further. It provides tools for both clinicians and proactive individuals where – with permission – health data can be shared and accessed across both platforms.
We plan to combine multiforms of complex medical data for a complete patient analysis – initially starting with medical imaging and pathology and in the future we will also include genetics. The platform will enhance communication between the clinical care team as well as directly with the patient.
What’s the biggest challenge facing your business?
Our greatest challenges include the negative stigma of AI and sourcing good talent.
AI is seen as a threatening technology that will replace jobs. We want to work with clinicians to demonstrate the value that it can have to help in the detection and diagnosis of cancer, so they can concentrate on what they do best, which is care for the patient.
What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?
What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I’ve received was to read Cal Newport’s ‘Deep Work’.
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