Flywheel Lands $54M Series D Raise
If your company’s tagline includes the term “AI,” you might have a better chance of landing investor dollars in 2023. Amid an otherwise lackluster market for venture capital deals, investors are still throwing millions of dollars at companies that are adopting novel uses for artificial intelligence.
Minneapolis-based Flywheel is among the beneficiaries. On Tuesday, the company announced that it has raised $54 million in a Series D raise. Flywheel bills itself as a “medical imaging data and AI platform.” In an interview with TCB, CEO Jim Olson said the company has developed a web-based platform that’s designed to help researchers quickly comb through enormous piles of medical imaging data. It’s an area that’s currently “underserved” by existing automation technology, he said.
“Imaging has been underserved just because of its complexity,” Olson said. “That’s where we carved out our niche.”
Olson said that Flywheel’s platform has the potential to help researchers develop new drugs and therapies, or simply improve patient care.
Since Flywheel was founded in 2015, the company has raised $110 million in total. The Series D round announced Tuesday included a few prominent investors, such as California-based chipmaker NVIDIA, which co-led the round through its NVentures investment arm. Life sciences investment firm Novalis LifeSciences LLC was the other lead investor.
Other familiar names in tech and health care also contributed to the raise: Microsoft, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Wisconsin-based Gundersen Health System all participated in the Series D. Additional participants included local investment firm Great North Ventures, Invenshure, 8VC, Beringea, Intuitive Ventures, iSelect, and Seraph.
TCB owner Key Investment also participated in the latest round, as well as Flywheel’s Series C. The connection? Earlier in his career, Olson worked at West Publishing, which was at one time owned by the Opperman family, which owns Key.
But Olson acknowledged that it’s still been a bit more difficult to raise VC money this year. “The environment is terrible. There’s no other word for it,” he said. “The large growth funds are kind of hitting the pause button. They’re very interested in our overall story and progress. They’re staying in touch but not opening the checkbook.”
Still, Olson is confident in Flywheel’s business model. The company is technically a software-as-a-service provider, and about 80% of its revenue comes from annual subscriptions to its platform, he said.
The latest fundraise, Olson said, “brings us all the way to profitability.” But it will also enable the company to expand its offerings globally and ramp up product development.