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Occuity is using the eye as a window on the health of the body. They are on a mission to improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people by revolutionising how some of the world’s most prevalent diseases, such as diabetes, myopia and Alzheimer’s, are detected and managed.
Ultimately, Occuity plan for products, such as a non-invasive glucose meter, The Occuity Indigo, to replace painful, repetitive, and invasive blood tests, with a simple, pain-free and quick, scan of the eye.
We sat down with founders Dr. Dan Daly and Dr. Robin Taylor to find out more.
We’d love to know about your careers before Occuity and where you first found that entrepreneurial spark.
Dr. Dan Daly: My background is in physics, optics in particular. I spent a number of years doing bench research in making micro-optics (very small optical systems) then became more involved in managing projects and the commercial aspects of turning technology into products.
I’d always wanted to use my technical knowledge to do something new and worthwhile. So the idea of using light to make pain-free measurements for diabetes care inspired me to found a start up.
Dr. Robin Taylor: I have always had a passion for engineering since I was very young. I had a deep fascination of how things worked, why they were built the way they were, and how they could be improved. This fascination is really what has been the driving force behind the multidisciplinary nature of my career starting with my degree in Electro-mechanical Engineering.
It was while studying my degree that my interest in medical engineering began. I was always interested in robotics, or more specifically animatronics. I had a family member that made prosthetic limbs and had visions of designing fully articulated robotic limbs. Electro-mechanical engineering seemed like a natural choice and my interest in medical engineering grew from there.
I then went on to do a PhD in biomedical engineering, after which I was introduced to Dan. We hit it off and then spent a number of years developing the technology platform on which Occuity’s products are based. When the opportunity to setup our own company and drive our own products into a market we are both so passionate about presented itself, we jumped at the chance.
Tell us about the business – what it is, what it aims to achieve, who you work with, how you reach customers and so on?
Dr. Dan Daly: Our mission is to improve the lives of millions of people globally, by delivering non-invasive screening and monitoring solutions to replace invasive and often repetitive tests. It is mobile, so can be taken to the patient and used in non-clinical settings.
We are building a technology platform on which we will build a number of different devices for different markets. We have both great short term products, to solve immediate market needs, and endless future opportunities, to really use the eye as a window on the health of the body.
We’re targeting a variety of audiences starting with purchase sales to B2B customers with our ophthalmic devices and gradually transitioning to B2C customers and a MMR (Monthly Recurring Revenue) Model for our diabetes monitoring devices
What is Occuity and what problem are you solving?
Dr. Robin Taylor: Our technology uses light to make measurements in the eye. It is safe, compact and cost effective and has numerous applications. Our aim is for Occuity to develop a series of devices that will offer a broad range of screening, diagnostic and monitoring capabilities. We have a strong focus on ease of use and, by their very nature, these devices will facilitate easier access to these capabilities ordinarily only found in hospitals. It is my hope that this will lead to a step change in the treatment of chronic diseases by using screening to identify those at risk before these conditions progress to the point that more extensive treatment is required.
Great examples of this are the AX1 and our diabetes screening project, the SD1. Healthcare screening is something I am very passionate about and I am very excited about both this raise, and the recent Innovate UK grant we have been awarded to enable us to push these projects forward.
How has the business evolved since its launch? When was this?
Dr. Dan Daly: The business was founded in 2019. Despite the pandemic and global supply chain issues, we have grown significantly over the past few years. We have recruited a highly qualified team, and expanded our planned product range with some really exciting discoveries.
We’re very close to getting our first product to market, which will be a key milestone. However, whilst we all know that is a crucial inflexion point for the business, it is equally important to note that we are not building one product, we are building a technology platform, which will enable us to develop many products. This has already borne fruit, in the shape of the AX1. The reaction from the market to the potential of the AX1 has been fantastic.
What can you tell us about the market and how Occuity is positioning themselves for success?
Dr. Dan Daly: We’re targeting three separate markets with a clear strategy. Our first products, for ophthalmic use, will be disruptive due to their ease of use, their non-invasive and compact design, and also their low price-point. These are close to market and will generate valuable revenues in the short term. These initial products will also provide the foundations on which we’ll build our truly innovative medium to long term solutions that will address the screening and monitoring challenges that currently rely on invasive blood tests. These will, of course, be knottier challenges, but offer far larger potential returns.
Could you tell us about some of your biggest achievements to date?
Dr. Dan Daly: There are so many things I could mention, the patents, the team, becoming the largest MedTech raise on Seedrs, but I’ll focus on three specific things of which we’re particularly proud:
- Thames Valley Tech Awards – Start Up of the Year – It was incredibly competitive and highlighted that people could see the potential of our technology.
- Future Leaders Fellowship – We secured a £1.4m grant, which means we can undertake some cutting edge research which will support our work on the screening devices for diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease.
- AX1 – I highlight this, because I believe it is the best example of how the company is really coming together. New opportunities like the AX1, are something I expect to arise from other areas of our work.
How do you plan to create a scalable and profitable business model?
Dr. Dan Daly: We have a clear strategy and plan. We have a patented technology platform and a pipeline of products that are tackling global healthcare challenges. We plan to get to market with our first ophthalmic products to deliver revenue and prove the capabilities of the platform, before transitioning through our screening and monitoring devices to a Device as a Service model, to allow us to deliver significantly monthly recurring revenues and very healthy margins.
Our business model demonstrates that we are confident Occuity can become a unicorn and deliver a very significant return for shareholders.
What do you plan to do with the money you raise?
Dr. Dan Daly: The money raised in this round will be used to get the PM1 to market and to accelerate the development of the AX1 as well as the underlying technology platform. There is such huge demand (that will only grow) for the AX1 right now, that we know it is important to get to market as soon as we can.
What do you love to do in your free time?
Dr. Dan Daly: I tend to enjoy practical projects and have an interest in classic cars. I have a half share in a ‘60s coupe that a friend and I are preparing for classic rallies.
Dr. Robin Taylor: I am first and foremost a dad, and then an engineer, so when I am not spending time with the family I am tinkering in my lab (the garage). I am very passionate about our technology and what we do at Occuity so I spend much of my spare time pushing our technology forward, pushing the boundaries of what we can do and to give us the best chance of succeeding.
If you weren’t building Occuity, what do you think you’d be doing?
Dr. Robin Taylor: I hope to think I would be doing something very similar! Innovation and design is what drives me and the healthcare sector is something I am very passionate about. I have always wanted to use my skills to improve quality of life.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far building Occuity?
Dr. Robin Taylor: Things always take longer than you think, but if you have good people around you, you can overcome almost any obstacle. We have assembled a great team.
Dr. Dan Daly: If you are doing something worthwhile, people appreciate it and buy into the vision. This leads to support from all sorts of unexpected areas, support that helps to ease and accelerate the journey.
Occuity is great opportunity to invest in a mission to develop revolutionary non-invasive diabetes screening and monitoring devices. Visit Occuity’s campaign page.