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London Tech Week

Taavet Hinrikus’ Plural Platform backs Teton.ai in $5.3M round for AI companion for nurses

Teton.AI Founders
Image credits: Teton.AI

There is an acute nursing shortage worldwide and it is predicted to reach up to 13 million by 2030. The International College of Nurses termed the lack of available nurses in the workforce a new global health crisis. Due to this shortage, nurses face physically demanding shifts of up to 12 hours, making them suffer from exhaustion and burnout.

A Danish healthtech startup Teton.ai aims to solve these challenges for nurses with AI and computer vision. The company just secured $5.3 million in funding led by Taavet Hinrikus’ Plural Platform investment that backed Unitary and Robin AI recently. The round also saw participation from angel investor Finn Murphy, formerly at Frontline Ventures.

In an interaction with TFN, Teton said it will use the funding to grow the team to 25 people to enable international expansion. The company plans to expand beyond its home market of Denmark into the Nordics and further into Europe, including Germany and the UK. It also hopes to run some trials in the US as well. Eventually, the company will build a full virtual nurse to support critical healthcare workers wherever they are in the hospital.

Mikkel Wad Thorsen, co-founder and CEO of Teton.ai, said: “Countries across the world are facing problems with staff shortages in both hospitals and the wider care sector. This problem is only getting bigger with pressures mounting to provide high-quality care to a growing ageing population. Our AI solution, which has privacy integrated into the design, gives nurses more time to take care of patients and residents, without burdening their workload. We’re excited about the impact this will have globally and look forward to working with the Plural team to help us scale up and expand in the next few years.”

Taavet Hinrikus, who led the investment round at Plural Platform, said: “Growing demand from an ageing population and shortage of supply of trained staff are the two big issues creating challenges in healthcare systems around the world. In line with Plural’s ambition to solve hard problems, we see huge potential for Teton.ai as a European-founded company building an AI-assisted technology platform to support nurses to provide better patient care. Teton’s mission is vital and we are thrilled to be working closely with Mikkel, Esben and the team.”

AI companion for nurses

Teton.ai was founded by Mikkel Wad Thorseen and Esben Klint Thorius in 2020 in Copenhagen. Interested in healthcare and wanting to build something in the space, Mikkel sensed that nursing is a neglected part of healthcare. However, it is the most important for keeping the healthcare system afloat.

After talking to nurses to understand their needs and pretty quickly understood how much of their time was spent on non-patient-related work, such as admin, and how much that affected their job satisfaction, they founded Teton.ai.

Teton.ai solves the challenges faced by nurses by taking AI and computer vision onto wards to give nurses tools that can help monitor patients in real time and keep on top of paperwork. Smart cameras are installed in the wards and these can scan the room for updates and patient activity that are fed into a web app to alert nurses when care is needed. The AI assistant acts as an extra pair of eyes and ears so nurses can focus on delivering high-quality care.

Teton’s AI was trained using hospital data sets and feedback from nurses to provide the right support for clinicians facing high volumes of work. It provides a holistic and dynamic understanding of the ward, helping to reduce workloads for staff. The cameras use computer vision to understand the patient’s status and communicate relevant information back to staff. To ensure patient confidentiality and privacy, analysis takes place within a closed system and no personal data is uploaded to a central server.

Teton’s nurse assistant has already proven invaluable to nurses carrying out night shifts when there is only one or two staff present on the ward and more pressure on a solo carer. In early trials of the technology at hospitals and care homes across Denmark, Teton’s nurse assistant has helped to reduce the night shift workload by 25% giving nurses more control and more time for their patients. In Denmark, Teton.ai is already working with hospitals including Nykøbing Falster Hospital and Næstved Hospital.

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