Physician Voice Assistant Startup Suki Closes $20M Funding Round
Suki, the developer of an eponymous voice assistant for healthcare professionals, has raised $20 million in a Series B funding round led by Flare Capital Partners. The new funding just short of two years after the startup closed a previous $20 million round of venture capital investment for its technology.
Suki’s voice assistant is designed as a tool for doctors that applies artificial intelligence and machine learning to collecting and transcribing notes and patient conversations. The AI can automatically fill in Electronic Health Records (EHR), with relevant information. The point is to take over the doctor’s data entry duties to give them more time to care for patients. Suki claims that using its voice assistant cuts the time a doctor spends on paperwork by three-quarters. That’s no small thing when too much administrative work has consistently been ranked as a leading cause of doctors burning out and quitting the profession.
Breyer Capital and Epsilon Health joined Flare in the new investment round, along with previous investors First Round Capital and Venrock, the leader of the last funding round. The new capital will be used for hiring new employees and developing additional features for the voice assistant. The company has already begun expanding its partnerships and leadership including integrating its technology into Rx.Health’s toolkit for detecting and limiting physician burnout.
“It’s clear that physician burnout caused by documentation and administrative burden is a crisis in medicine, which is why we’ve seen such enthusiastic adoption of our technology to date and will continue this momentum with the support of our investors,” Suki CEO Punit Soni said in a statement. “Suki not only delivers a better physician experience but also supports high-quality, coordinated care and improved coding and billing through its accurate, detailed medical notes.”
Clinical Voice Gets Louder
Suki’s large funding round is part of a burst of interest in voice assistants to help medical professionals. Suki faces rival startups such as Saykara, who announced just this week a breakthrough that enables its AI to automatically extract meaning from conversations between doctors and patients. Saykara has raised around $9 million in funding for its platform but has been adding new clients at a rapid clip.
The giants in tech and AI aren’t ignoring the space either. Amazon Transcribe Medical came out in December as an automated transcription service for doctors, while Microsoft partnered with Nuance to upgrade Nuance’s Dragon Medical Virtual Assistant and add it to Microsoft’s Azure platform. The larger companies can offer IT bundles that few startups can compete with, but Suki has found a way to avoid exclusion through partnerships. The startup works with both Amazon and Google to augment their tech with its AI, a task that the new capital infusion should help accelerate.