WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Neurava, a startup located in West Lafayette, Indiana, announced Monday (Nov. 1) that it has received more than $650,000 in seed funding led by Elevate Ventures with participation from Purdue Foundry, First Leaf Capital, UCB Biopharma, iO Life Ventures and angel investors.
Neurava is developing a wearable device to monitor and alert for the impending risk of sudden, unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP). Vivek Ganesh and Jay Shah, current and former Ph.D. candidates from Purdue University's College of Engineering, launched the startup after a potential mechanism of action behind SUDEP was discovered in the lab of Pedro Irazoqui, the incoming head of electrical engineering at Johns Hopkins University and former associate head of biomedical engineering and founder of the Center for Implantable Devices at Purdue.
"We have put together a well-rounded group of investors consisting of venture capital firms, angel investors, Purdue Foundry and an important strategic partner, UCB Biopharma," Shah said. "Our group of investors bring more than just capital. They also share their experience in entrepreneurship, medical device development and the epilepsy space."
Neurava received a $20,000 pre-seed investment from Elevate Ventures through the Elevate Nexus Regional Pitch Competition in 2019. This initial investment enabled the company to begin building a prototype.
Ganesh said, "We are really pleased to receive such tremendous support from these top-tier firms and appreciate the confidence they've placed in our team. SUDEP is a risk faced by millions of people worldwide. With this funding, we can complete a prototype that we believe can have a massive impact on epilepsy patients and their caregivers."
The new funding will allow Neurava to complete a final prototype and collect human data through epilepsy monitoring studies, as well as finalize an insurance reimbursement strategy and expand its team.
"At UCB, we are driven to improve the lives of people living with epilepsy, and supporting the broader epilepsy community is at the forefront of everything we do. It is our goal to improve the detection, management and treatment of seizures, and the development of health technology is a key area of focus. We welcome the opportunity to partner on this much-needed area of research," said Charl van Zyl, executive vice president, head of neurology solutions and European and international markets, UCB.
Mike Shepard, entrepreneur-in-residence at Elevate Ventures, said, "Elevate is excited to work with Jay and Vivek. They epitomize the characteristics of the thoughtful leadership and drive required to succeed with an early-stage medical device company. For individuals living with epilepsy, their technology will deliver much-needed insights and monitoring."
"Purdue Foundry makes strategic investments to enable Purdue startups to improve the world," said Riley Gibb, director of business development at Purdue Foundry. "Jay and Vivek are passionate about their medical device and are equally passionate about organizing Neurava for sustained success. We are proud of our ability to support Purdue technology and to be part of the initial round of seed funding to support the company."
In addition to the funding announced Monday, Neurava was selected as a finalist in the MassChallenge Accelerator Competition in Boston this year. Neurava also was among 54 startups selected from 440 global applicants at the Rice Business Plan Competition. The competition resulted in winning a $25,000 U.S. Food and Drug Administration award to continue developing its technology.