NEW YORK, June 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Smart Vision Labs, Inc., announced today that it closed a $6.1M Series A round led by Techstars Ventures. Other investors in the round include Heritage Group, Connectivity Capital, and Red Sea Ventures.
Over one billion people worldwide suffer from uncorrected refractive errors. Especially in developing countries, insufficient vision care perpetuates a vicious cycle of poverty by reducing productivity in middle-age workers and hampering educational opportunities for children. Even in the United States, less than half of the 200 million people who wear corrective lenses visit their vision care provider once a year as recommended by the American Optometric Association: most patients get eye exams only once every two years.
Smart Vision Labs has developed the world's first commercially available smartphone-based autorefractor, the SVOne, to enable accurate and fast mobile vision exams anywhere and anytime. The SVOne device uses wavefront aberrometry (an advanced technology used to characterize vision imperfection before performing corrective vision surgery) to measure a patient's refractive errors. The company is working with healthcare professionals to enable affordable, convenient, and high-quality access to vision care both domestically and abroad. "I have seen firsthand how dramatically people's lives have improved because of our portable refraction technology. We are on a mission to solve the global vision challenge," says co-founder and CEO Yaopeng Zhou.
To date, the SVOne has been used to provide vision exams in clinics and mobile screenings in 21 different countries. National Vision, Inc. CEO Reade Fahs said: "The SVOne technology is quite advanced and is destined to play an important role in both screenings and autorefraction. The size and cost of the device represent important advancements to both accessibility and cost effectiveness." National Vision, Inc. is a seed stage investor in the company.
The company is building innovative ways to provide easy access to vision care to anyone. "The SVOne represents a breakthrough in vision technology that will open new doors for eye care professionals and has the potential to positively impact vision health on a worldwide basis. We are thrilled to be leading the Series A investment and joining the team at SVL," said Ari Newman, a partner at Techstars Ventures. Ari joins the company's Board of Directors.
Smart Vision Labs will use the Series A funding to further scale production of the SVOne, develop additional products and services, and expand the team. "Smart Vision Labs is building cutting-edge technology to enable methods of care that simply weren't possible before," said co-founder and COO Marc Albanese.
To learn more about the company or to purchase a device for clinical use, visit www.smartvisionlabs.com.
About Smart Vision Labs
Smart Vision Labs was founded in 2013 by Yaopeng Zhou and Marc Albanese. Yaopeng and Marc met more than 10 years ago while developing a scanning laser ophthalmoscope in a joint program between the Schepens Eye Research Institute and Boston University.
After winning the $1M Powerful Answers award from Verizon in early 2014, Yaopeng and Marc began to work in earnest on creating the company's flagship smartphone-based vision exam device. With their combined expertise in engineering, optics, and business, they are building a company that will revolutionize the global vision care industry.
Today, Yaopeng, Marc, and the rest of the Smart Vision Labs team are working to make their technology accessible to one billion people across the globe in need of eye care.
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SOURCE Smart Vision Labs, Inc.