Tech Pitch: Cupris

What if your GP could diagnose you from miles away using images and data you collect with your phone? Here's the start-up making this dream a reality...

Company name: Cupris
Founders: Jules Hamann (45) and Paul Thomas (46)
Background: I (Hamann) am an NHS consultant ENT and thyroid surgeon, passionate about new technologies and AI. Thomas worked for eight years at Nokia and has jointly founded two companies, Cupris and Plumis.
Based in: London
Launched: December 2011

Very simply, what does your tech start-up do?

Cupris provides health professionals and patients with secure communication through an app and web platform, and offers connected clinical examination capabilities, turning smartphones into medical devices using clip-on attachments.

Cupris’ toolkit of smartphone attachments will include the most common tools used by GPs: the otoscope, the ophthalmoscope, the dermatoscope and a stethoscope adapter. The accompanying platform enables the secure sharing of clinical images and medical history so that professionals can diagnose remotely, provide a second opinion, and better monitor patients’ conditions.

It can be used by GPs, ENT (ear, nose and throat) surgeons, nurses, carers and even patients themselves.

Tell us why there’s a need – what do you disrupt?

Today’s GPs are overwhelmed, hospitals have huge waiting lists, and remote areas have limited access to healthcare. While telemedicine is an extremely attractive solution to bring healthcare closer to the patient, most telemedicine solutions focus on providing video or text communication tools. This misses a significant part of the consultation: the clinical examination with the GP.

Cupris bridges this gap using smartphone technology to develop affordable, high quality, medical-grade devices which capture clinical images and securely send them to doctors for remote diagnosis.

In the future, such assisted diagnoses will even provide healthcare access to the population in less economically developed countries. This is all down to the toolkit, which will bring healthcare resources to community workers and the patients themselves, who will have instant access to healthcare experts and affordable, smartphone-connected medical devices for the first time.

Is Cupris funded?

We’ve raised around £1.5m over the last four years and are currently raising more to complete our primary care toolkit and grow our customer base to other countries. We also recently won $50,000 from InnovatorsRace50, organised by Capgemini for its 50th anniversary, coming top in the Digital Processes and Transformation category.

This should give us more networking opportunities, participation in international tech events, access to experts and the opportunity to join the Capgemini partner ecosystem – all great opportunities for the business to grow!

What were you doing before you started Cupris?

We all come from very diverse backgrounds. I (Jules Hamann) started off as a doctor, but researched emerging technologies like 3D imaging. I’m now an NHS consultant ENT and thyroid surgeon, passionate about new tech and AI. I also have an MBA from Imperial College.

Our other founder, Paul Thomas, started his career in fire protection, and now has a two masters degrees in innovation design engineering from the Royal College of Art (MA) and Imperial College (MSc). He worked for eight years at Nokia – miles away from the medical world! – and also jointly founded Plumis.

Plumis’ product design won the international Dyson Design Award, and in 2009 the New York Times featured it in its top 100 ‘World in Ideas’.

What’s the best thing about where you’re based?

London is obviously a great city and is an obvious choice for start-ups. It’s a vibrant place rife with opportunities for investment and academic partnerships, and has a large pool of talent from across the world.

Our office in the Kings Cross area is very convenient, not to mention that it has a great selection of restaurants! The building itself is quite cool as well – it’s the place where they used to manufacture the first English buses!

Browse Startups’ free guides to learn more about launching a business in London.

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