Early detection of cancer significantly improves the survival rate (80%), streamlines treatment options, and ultimately reduces the cost of care. However, most early detection efforts are centered around patients who are already presenting with probable cancer symptoms. Ezra offers full-body MRI scans that are powered by AI to reduce the amount of time required to complete a scan, offering a true early-detection option for cancer and 500+ other diseases. The company’s FDA-approved AI technology in scans can be found at leading imaging centers at one of 18 locations in major cities across the US with plans to operate 50 locations in 20 cities by year’s end. While there are other providers that offer full body scans, the costs are typically prohibitive for most with pricing starting at $5000+ per scan. For individuals, Ezra offers three different scan types ranging from $1350 to $2500 with plans to offer a $500 scan in the future; family and multiyear plans are also available. The company founded in 2018 is one of the rare startups that is actually changing the world with its mission to make early cancer detection for all.
AlleyWatch caught up with Ezra Founder and CEO Emi Gal to learn more about the business, the company’s strategic plans, latest round of funding, and much, much more…
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We raised $21M, bringing our total raised to $41M. The round was co-led by Healthier Capital, a venture capital firm focused on applying innovative technology to healthcare and led by Amir Dan Rubin, former CEO of Amazon’s One Medical. FirstMark Capital co-led the round, with participation from Allianz Life Ventures (the venture capital arm of Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America), the Schwarzman family, former Chairman of England’s National Health Service (NHS) Lord David Prior, Gaingels, Republic, and Mana Ventures. Existing investors Credo Ventures, Seedcamp, LDV Capital, Accomplice, Founders Future, Vlad Tenev, Anne Wojcicki, and Esther Dyson also participated. Amir Dan Rubin will also join Ezra’s Board of Directors.
Tell us about the product or service that Ezra offers.
Five years ago, Ezra pioneered the full body MRI space by being the first company in the US to offer fast, accurate, affordable, AI-powered full body MRI scans. We have since scanned thousands of people and have helped countless individuals identify cancer and over 500 other types of diseases early.
This year, 10 million people will receive late-stage cancer diagnoses, with survival chances below 20%. At Ezra, we aim to detect cancer early for these 10 million people, improving their chance of getting cured.
What inspired the start of Ezra?
I’m personally at high risk for cancer and have had cancer in my family (my mother passed away from metastatic colon cancer). Cancer is most curable when detected early – had my mother found cancer early she would likely still be alive.
How is Ezra different?
Ezra stands apart by leveraging proprietary AIs across all three key components of the cancer screening process: imaging, analysis, and reporting. These three AI innovations have enabled Ezra to reduce the price of an Ezra Full Body MRI scan by 40%, making the Ezra Full Body Flash one of the most affordable full body MRI scans on the market.
What market does Ezra target and how big is it?
Our goal is to screen everyone in the world for cancer, so our market is everyone over 40, I guess. Healthcare expenditure in the US is 18% of the GDP, and cancer is a big part of that.
What’s your business model?
We offer multiple types of scans – our 30-minute Full Body Flash full body cancer screening scan ($1,350), our 60-minute Full Body ($1,950) that includes spine and hips analysis, and our Full Body Plus ($2,500) that includes a low-dose chest CT for lung cancer screening and coronary calcium scoring (for heart health analysis).
The Ezra business model is direct-to-consumer, cash-pay. We accept HSA/FSA dollars and have monthly installment plans available (via Affirm)
How are you preparing for a potential economic slowdown?
We have the advantage of being an asset-light software & AI company, so we’ve been able to stay very lean. Our current focus is to get to profitability over the next 12-18 months.
What was the funding process like?
We were fortunate to have great support from existing investors (all our institutional investors participated in the round). That said, I did have to meet with a lot of funds to find the right partner for Ezra. I couldn’t be more thrilled about Healthier Capital leading this round, and Amir joining the board.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
If anything, it’s that most venture capital firms are very slow in deploying capital these days due to concerns for the macro environment.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Very fast growth 🙂
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
Scale to more geographies in the US and continue doubling down on our AI development.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Keep burn really, really low.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
Most of our focus over the next 1-2 years will be on expanding geographically, and on continuing to build AIs to make our scan more affordable.
What’s your favorite winter destination in and around the city?
Wildflower Farms in Gardiner, NY is pretty amazing.