Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 global pandemic, many of us have found ourselves tracking new cases and other determining measurements on a daily basis, with the number of ventilated patients becoming an important statistic that measures the severity of virus-related morbidity in a given country.

Today (Thursday), Israeli startup ENvizion Medical, which develops smart feeding tubes (Nasogastric tubes) for intubated patients, announced the completion of an $8 million funding round. The current round rounds out the company’s total funds raised to date at $18 million.

40% increase in demand

“The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus created an increase in the number of ventilated patients, who are in need of Nasogastric tubes. Just in the U.S. alone demand went up by 40%,” explains ENvizion President and CEO Doron Besser in a conversation with Geektime. The rapid increase has only accelerated the need for new and more efficient feeding tubes, just like the ones developed by ENvizion Medical, which was founded by Besser and entrepreneur in crime, Shay Zuker.

The current practice of inserting feeding tubes is done in a way that can lead to mistakes and multiple complications. For example, the tube could be accidentally inserted into the lungs, which could potentially cause pneumothorax, pneumonia, water on the lungs, and in severe cases bring unnecessary death to intubated patients. ENvizion’s development enables a much safer and faster process of intubation, significantly lowering the chance for complications. The company’s FDA approved product creates a map of the body using electromagnetic fields, allowing medical personnel efficient and safe intubation guidance. “Just like Waze”, the company says.

After the map is created, medical professionals can inspect a 3D image of the patient’s body from a number of different angles: horizontal, frontal, and lateral views; and thanks to the electromagnetic sensors linked with the tube, it’s possible to track and adjust location at any given moment.

According to the company, the need for a smart feeding tube, which also enables nurses to perform the procedure without complications, has always existed, though in the last few months that same need has gone up, and big-time: “Our investors also noticed the need and potential of our solution during these recent months,” explains Besser. The increase in demand created a variety of opportunities for the Israeli company, such as a partnership with one of the leading healthcare providers in the U.S., which aims to deploy the solution to 150 hospitals in the U.S.

ENvizion was founded by Dr. Doron Besser and Shay Zuker in 2015, and has since then raised $18 million in total funding, including $8 million in a round that closed in April. The company has offices in Tel Aviv and Minneapolis.