By Juliet Umeh

Developer of diagnostic software for the rapid detection of medical anomalies in infant cry sounds, Ubenwa, has said it has secured a pre-seed financing of $2.5m.

Ubenwa raised $2.5M USD in a pre-seed round that attracted top AI venture funds and researchers.

Radical Ventures led the round, which included participation from returning investor AIX Ventures, a fund co-founded by AI researchers and entrepreneurs Pieter Abbeel and Richard Socher.

Also, turning award winner, Yoshua Bengio invested in Ubenwa alongside Google Brain’s Hugo Larochelle and Marc Bellemare.

Ubenwa is working with Montreal Children’s Hospital and paediatric hospital networks around the world, to build a platform for sound-based diagnostic tools, combining groundbreaking AI research and clinical insights.

CEO and Co-founder of Ubenwa, Charles Onu, explained that clinicians and parents find an infant’s cry difficult to diagnose. According to him, “babies cry for several reasons such as when they are hungry, exhausted or have colic. However, a baby’s cry can also be a signal that more urgent care is required.

“Delayed diagnosis may lead to severe, long-lasting effects or fatality. Ubenwa has developed accurate algorithms for cry activity tracking, acoustic biomarker detection and anomaly prediction, turning infant cries into clinically relevant insights and potential diagnoses.

“The company’s first pilot on detecting neurological injury due to birth asphyxia showed about 40 percent improvement over APGAR scoring, the most common physical exam at birth.”

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