Cardiac health-monitoring smart toilet seat maker Casana (formerly Heart Health Intelligence) has raised $14 million in a Series A funding round led by General Catalyst and the Outsiders Fund. Also participating was Bemis Manufacturing Company, a toilet seat manufacturer that led the startup's $2.2 million round last April.
In addition to the fundraise, Casana announced that Austin McChord, the founder and former CEO of cybersecurity technology company Datto, will be stepping in as the startup's new CEO.
WHAT IT DOES
Rochester, New York-based Casana's lead product is the Heart Seat, a device developed by founder Nicholoas Conn during his time at the Rochester Institute of Technology. It contains ECG, ballistocardiogram (BCG) and photoplethysmogram (PPG) sensors to collect a range of heart health metrics and transmits its readings to a cloud network via built-in WiFi and LTE. The company says that the Heart Seat's battery will last "several years without recharging," a key factor in establishing the seat as a fully passive health monitoring option.
“Our goal is to be able to monitor a patient’s health more naturally at home, without interruption of their daily routine,” McChord said in a statement. “The toilet seat is not a tech gadget. Unlike a wearable device, you can’t take it off, forget to use it or mess it up. If we do our job right, when patients use our effortless in-home heart monitoring device, we are invisible unless their health status needs attention."
Casana's website highlights a handful of published peer-review studies describing the monitoring platform's accuracy, including a 2019 paper describing blood pressure, stroke volume and blood oxygen measures on par with standard measurement approaches over an eight-week period.
WHAT IT'S FOR
Much like last year's seed funding, Casana said that its primary focus is seeing the Heart Seat through the process of FDA clearance and eventually bringing the device to market. The startup said it will also be supporting research concerning a connected heart health device for health systems and risk-bearing organizations' heart failure patients. It highlighted the University of Florida and The Villages Health as participants in these efforts.
Casana's device plays into the long-standing promise of the smart home, where sensors and data platforms placed around the home can passively monitor individuals' health on a long-term basis. These designs would be staffed by a range of different devices and services – some of which are already available in the form of smart bath mats, in-home fall detectors, smart mirrors and plenty of other products that have popped up at shows like CES over the years.
But smart toilet seats are only one digital health approach to out-of-hospital heart monitoring. Others modalities that have picked up steam over the last few years include adhesive patches and wearables, the latter of which range from consumer smartwatches to clinical-grade monitoring bracelets.