Visla Labs raises $3M in funding to fuel AI use in radiology

A company looking to further development of an AI diagnostics platform for radiology has received its first official equity funding.

Visla Labs says the initial funding of $3 million is from Lux Capital with “strong support” from former Twitter CEO and COO Dick Costolo and Adam Bain, as well as others.

The Visla initiative is part of a trend of trying to efficiently incorporate artificial intelligence into the analysis of diagnostic images. While many experts see AI as an effective tool in assessing images for disease, the task has become how best to apply AI to support radiologists in their workflow.

San Francisco-based Visla’s AI products aim to deliver expert diagnosis at lower costs and faster turnaround times to radiologists, it says.

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A technician looks at scanned imagery in the control room of the diagnostic imaging area at the Hong Kong Integrated Oncology Centre in Hong Kong, China, on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015. Equipped with biopsy facilities, body scanners, and quiet 'VIP' chemotherapy rooms, the Hong Kong Integrated Oncology Centre is the first of a string of such facilities that TE Asia Healthcare Partners, a portfolio company funded by TPG Capital, is planning in Asia. Photographer: Xaume Olleros/Bloomberg

The company was formed earlier this year and has made rapid strides in testing its services and developing a marketable product, says Zavain Dar, a principal at Lux Capital who has joined Visla’s board of directors.

Early previews of the Visla technology are currently being used in more than 30 clinical settings across the U.S. and Asia, and Visla's AI engines have ingested and processed millions of live images.

In one example with an existing partner, Visla reports that its technology enabled 50 percent fewer missed diseases while automating 80 percent of healthy diagnoses.

"Our aim is to focus on the user, using the fastest and nimblest iteration to help in an industry where there is real need and potential to make a difference," said Wei-En Tan, co-founder of Visla. "We've seen the fragmented nature of healthcare for both doctors and patients, and we're passionate about the opportunity to reimagine the process of radiology, so that it is efficient and simple for doctors, and cost-effective for everyone."

Visla was founded by entrepreneurs who met while studying and working at Stanford, Apple and Twitter. The company will use the capital to grow its team, scale product features, attain regulatory approval and fuel expansion and growth.

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