Riva, founded by scientist Tuhin Sinha and Siri co-founder Dag Kittlaus, wants to help people measure their blood pressure in a clinically-approved way. Blood pressure can help indicate at-risk patients before they are at risk, showing early signs of heart disease. And while other hardware solutions on the market promise the same end goal, Riva wants to be a pure software solution that integrates with hardware that it thinks its end-user has anyways: their smartphone.
Launching out of stealth today, the company has raised $15.5 million in seed funding in a round led by Menlo Ventures, with participation from True Ventures. UC Health and the University of Colorado Innovation Fund accounted for $5 million of the round, with other angels including GoHealth’s Brandon Cruz and Madison Industries Larry Gies. Greg Yap of Menlo, who talked to Sinha for three years before investing, will be joining the board.
Kittlaus, who also founded AI-assistant Viv, says he began thinking about making a difference in digital health after undergoing severe health issues. Kittlaus was diagnosed with pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer in 2016, the same type of cancer that late Apple CEO Steve Jobs died from.
“I spend time researching ideas on it, but I was missing the thing that I’ve had in both my previous companies, which was some amazing technological innovation that could form a wedge that you can move the world with,” he said. Kittlaus mentioned this internal conversation with his friend, Shawn Carolan, this past summer. The friend, who was the first investor in Siri, introduced him to Tuhin Sinha, the scientist who spent years developing the technology used to power Riva. To use
Riva, all a person needs to do is open the app on their phone and tap ‘Go’, which triggers the camera flash on the back of the phone. The app will then guide the user to place their finger over the right camera and help them adjust positioning until it locks into place. After that, Riva will use the light to track blood pressure change and render it on screen.