[100 Companies in Pangyo, the Silicon Valley in Asia] Rootee Health protects ‘eyes’ with eye disease test solution

-Increased accuracy of eye disease diagnosis with unmanned complex examination system and AI technology

-ELI Solution advances into developed countries with strategic investment from Green Cross MS

The progression of the damage of the optic nerve can be prevented if eye diseases are detected early. But 80% of those who lost eyesight had not had an early diagnosis. Losing eyesight due to eye disease occurs not only in developing countries with insufficient infrastructure, but also in developed countries with low access to ophthalmology medical care.  ELI Solution reduces the risk of progression of diseases by diagnosing eye diseases accurately. Guk Gyeong-min, the CEO of Rootee Solution, said, “The eye is the only organ in which the blood vessels can be imaged, and you can find out about the information about systemic diseases. The eyes can present a roadmap to a healthy life.”

Founded in April 2017, Rootee Health has been contributing to the prevention of eye diseases in developing and developed countries by using an unmanned eye disease complex screening system and AI as conducting KOICA’s CTS (Creative Technology Solution) project. The experience in developing countries played a big role in enhancing the completeness of the eye disease test solution, and based on this experience, Rootee Health received a strategic investment from Green Cross MS in last January and entered the developed countries as well. Guk explained, “By the second half of 2021, more advanced eye disease testing solutions will be introduced to the market, and after launch, we will secure a number of AI technologies to create a new type of eye disease care model.”

Rootee Health provides a test solution for patients who are expected to develop eye disease complications due to chronic diseases to be diagnosed early. On this, Guk emphasized, “If you miss the treatment time because you have not detected eye disease early, the optic nerve will be damaged to the point of becoming blind with the three major blindness diseases. People with chronic diseases are highly exposed to eye disease complications and blindness, so you should get checked regularly. The early complication detection service should be performed in the medical clinics (non-ophthalmological medical environment) that current patients of chronic disease are visiting.”

However, non-ophthalmological medical clinics may feel burdened to hire a separate optometrist, and it is not easy to read eye diseases with specialized knowledge. Also, it is difficult to establish an examination environment (such as darkrooms) like an ophthalmological clinic in a non-ophthalmological medical environment. To solve these problems, Rootee Health is conducting non-face-to-face early diagnoses of eye diseases and continuous management solutions and membership services as its main business.

ELI Solution provided by Rootee Health is an eye disease test solution that can be easily used by the general public. The feature of this product lies in the “eye examination automation technology” that automates the process of obtaining good images with AI technology while being portable. “If you just place your face like a VR, the eye exam is done within 10 seconds, and you can finish the eye exam for both eyes within 30 seconds. It is the first portable automatic photographic eye exam device. Because it is portable, it has a big advantage over conventional fixed fundus camera,” Guk said.

ELI Solution can also be used in conjunction with an AI-based diagnostic assistance system to instantly identify diseases in the field. Expensive fixed cameras are gradually developing into complex medical devices such as OCT, but this product can be positioned as the optimized product for fundus imaging.

ELI Solution has already been well received in the market. Guk thinks it should be introduced to the market through rapid medical device approval as quickly as possible. When the product is released, he is planning to focus on the Asian market like India. It is planning to provide the service with partnership through the government organizations with diabetes management centers, internal medicine clinics, ophthalmological clinics, and pharmacy chains. After completing a $1.5M pre-order contract with a US telemedicine company, Rootee Health succeeded in attracting strategic investments for Green Cross MS in the field of early diagnosis of on-site chronic diseases in January, and is currently focusing on entering developed countries.

“We are expected to face a lot of difficulties due to the prolonged COVID-19 and the uncertain global economic crisis, but the nature of eye diseases which people in the low-income bracket are more prone to eye diseases that can lead to blindness makes us work harder to distribute our solution to the Asian market. We are going to expand the business with the help from KOICA and Green Cross,” said Guk. He ended the interview by commenting on Pangyo as the base of his business, saying that Pangyo is very advantageous in securing excellent manpower in software development. There are many organizations in Pangyo that support startups like us to settle down well, which makes this place the best place to grow their businesses.