A Newfoundland company aiming to help people with respiratory issues get the most from their inhalers has attracted half a million dollars in funding.
Breathe Suite, founded by Brett Vokey, announced Oct. 24 it had rasied $550,000 in pre-seed funding, led by a $250,000 investment from Venture Newfoundland and Labrador LP. The rest came from local and international angel investors.
Vokey, 23, has been building the company as he completed an engineering degree at Memorial University. He graduated in April.
BreatheSuite is developing an inhaler attachment and accompanying software that will give asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients feedback about their technique and tell them how much medicine they received.
Vokey says around 90 per cent of inhaler users use the devices incorrectly and wind up not getting the medicine amounts they’ve been prescribed.
“Our mission is to empower chronic disease patients to manage their own diseases more effectively,” Vokey said in a news release.
Breathe Suite is part of a major surge in health care startups in St. John’s, according to a recent report from online news outlet Entrevestor. Overall, 24 new companies set up shop in the city in 2018—nearly double the number of startups in 2017. Of those 24 companies, nine were in the life sciences sector.
“We’re planning to pave the way for med tech in Newfoundland and Labrador,” Brett Vokey told Atlantic Business Magazine for an upcoming feature in our November print edition.
Entrevestor credits the Bounce Innovation program—a collaborative effort between MCE, Eastern Health, Memorial’s Faculty of Medicine and the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Technical Industries (NATI)—as well as Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship (MCE) director, Florian Villaumé, for the health care innovation boom.
MCE also made a big announcement Oct. 24: it was recognized as one of the top five emerging entrepreneurship centres in the world by Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers (GCEC). The centre was named a finalist in GCEC’s annual award for outstanding emerging entrepreneurship centre.
The centre was named a finalist in GCEC’s annual award for outstanding emerging entrepreneurship centre.