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The Mayo Clinic is putting money and research behind Vic Gundotra’s mobile heart-health startup

AliveCor’s mobile ECG device might be able to do more than just record your heartbeat.

The Kardia device uses a finger pulse to take an ECG.

AliveCor, a Silicon Valley startup focused on mobile electrocardiogram technology, is getting an investment from the Mayo Clinic and is also striking a wide-ranging collaboration with the famous medical institution to find “hidden health indicators” in heart readings.

The six-year-old company did not disclose the amount of the investment, which sources said will apparently increase over time. The last time the company revealed its funding was in 2012, when it got $10.5 million from Khosla Ventures for a total of $13.5 million.

AliveCor had several CEOs in its short history before it hired tech exec Vic Gundotra, who has had high-profile jobs at Microsoft and Google, in 2015.

In an interview, he said that his goal was to create a Silicon Valley tech company that has “collaborated with real doctors and has passed regulatory tests and not with a board which does not have a clue.” Gundotra’s reference, of course, is to the controversies around Theranos, the blood-testing startup whose services have been questioned for their efficacy.

AliveCor CEO Vic Gundotra

“This partnership with the Mayo Clinic has all the right incentives,” he added. “It is a deep collaboration.”

AliveCor, whose ECG technology via its Kardia Mobile device has gotten FDA clearance, said it has collected 10 million heart recordings. With the Mayo Clinic, using this data, it hopes to employ machine learning to yield more than a traditional cardiac reading can. As an example, the company said that the ECG can quantify serum potassium levels in a non-invasive way, rather than through a blood test. An abnormal level can indicate kidney failure.

Currently, Kardia Mobile employs an ECG device and an app, giving instant analysis for a range of heart measurements, such as detecting atrial fibrillation and normal sinus rhythms. It has also integrated data from home blood pressure devices into its app.

“Someday, no cardiologist will practice and not use machines that can see something humans cannot,” said Gundotra, noting the possibilities are vast to change the way people are diagnosed using increasingly sophisticated algorithms. “Machines will see a lot of things if you give them enough data.”

More such devices from AliveCor are expected, said sources, with rollouts likely in Europe and elsewhere before coming to the U.S.

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