Clearwater Clinical raises $6M for tablet-based hearing test

By Jonah Comstock
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Clearwater Clinical, a mobile medical device company based in Ottawa, Ontario in Canada, has raised $6 million in new funding. Whitecap Venture Partners, a Toronto-based early stage venture capital fund, led the round, with additional contributions by BDC Capital Healthcare Venture Fund. This round brings the company's total funding to $9.5 million.

Founded 2005, Clearwater Clinical provides three offerings: Modica, a HIPAA-compliant app for taking medical pictures with a smartphone and storing them securely in the cloud; ClearScope, a smartphone-connected endoscope that works with Modica, and the company's newest product -- on which the current round of funding is focused -- an iPad-based audiometer called Shoebox.

"Hearing loss is the world's leading disability, affecting almost 640 million people globally, and yet there has been very little innovation to audiometers in the last 50 years," Clearwater Clinical CEO Michael Weider said in a statement. "Shoebox Audiometry is satisfying an enormous need in the market by providing a simpler and more cost-effective approach to hearing testing. At Clearwater, we believe that it is possible to leverage the power and portability of software defined diagnostics and tablet technology to revolutionize the hearing health industry and make it possible for every person on the planet to have access to a hearing test."

The idea of Shoebox is to use mobile technology to provide a cheaper and more portable platform for hearing testing compared to the status quo, which required a soundproof booth. The company can also store data from the tests securely, building on the technology behind Modica. 

"The current audiology infrastructure is inadequate to meet the needs of the incoming wave of an aging population and hearing damage from ubiquitous personal devices," Amine Benmoussa, principal with the BDC Capital Healthcare Venture Fund, said in a statement. "The innovations incorporated into the Shoebox platform give Clearwater a clear advantage in this market and in potential new markets. Clearwater represents an excellent example of the Healthcare Fund's investment strategy. As an early investor, we have been impressed with the company's success so far and we look forward to supporting the team as they grow."