Backing Radformation: How Many Physicists Does it Take to Build a SaaS Company?

Long gone are the days when NYC was just a place to build a fintech company or an ad platform.

In the first half of 2018, we saw Flatiron Health’s $1.9 Billion acquisition, Quentis Therapeutics picking up $48 million in financing, and raising $25 Million--all to fight cancer.  Making cancer treatment easier to plan for clinicians was the goal of a founding team of three physicists who cold e-mailed me around New Years.  They had unique insight into a tool that would save time, reduce errors, and improve quality in cancer clinics.

Part of my criteria at Brooklyn Bridge Ventures is trying to figure out whether the person sitting across the table from me has taken the right path to knowing enough about what they're trying to tackle and is eyes wide open about the challenges ahead. 

Radformation, founded by Kurt Sysock and co-founders Alan Nelson and Elisabeth van Wie, is an early-stage oncology software company that works with state of the art radiation equipment.  They began laying the groundwork for Radformation in 2016, after all three left their jobs working as medical physicists in the cancer clinic.  It was during their time working in the cancer clinic that they saw first hand the frustrations of manually putting together complex treatment plans for patients.  Having this in-depth knowledge as potential users of the product helped them get nearly 100 clinics using their platform in just their first year of having a product.  Radformation's FDA 510(k) cleared software allows clinics to catch errors quickly at the source and automate generation of high quality treatment plans much faster than today’s current manual methods. 

No amount of Googling around on my part is going to catch this team sleeping on what's going on in this space.

Finding this is more rare than you think it would be--as many pitch meetings fall apart quickly, like someone who thinks they're passable in a foreign language until they talk to a native speaker.  

Plus, it's always great to back a team making a positive impact on the world and doing so in a lucrative space.  Over $150 billion is spent annually on cancer treatments in the United States alone and cancer accounts for 1 in every 7 deaths worldwide.  Radformation leverages clinical best practices and advanced algorithms to automate the error checking and plan generation process to create the highest quality plans possible.  In this way, Radformation helps clinics provide their patients with optimal treatments and avoid patient harm.  The software is compatible with a wide range of cancer treatment sites, and generates optimal treatment plans in minutes, expediting a process that used to require hours to perform.

I'm also very excited to be in a deal with The Fund.  I first met Matt Brimer in the Ace Hotel lobby back in 2009 when he was interviewing companies to join his new co-working space called "Superconductor", which obviously became General Assembly.  This will be my third co-investment with Jenny Fielding, who is awesome--first on Homer Logistics and the second being another unannounced deal with The Fund.