Babywatcher has raised 1 million euros. The start-up from Maastricht is offering a device that enables pregnant women to make fun ultrasounds themselves – a world’s first, according to the company based on the Brightlands Health Campus. The recent investment round was concluded by the current shareholders, which include the province of Limburg’s regional development agency Liof, the Limburgian Business Development Fund (LBDF) and a new investor, KIKK Capital. The money raised will be used to accelerate growth within Europe.
The Babywatcher is a portable ultrasound device that connects through USB to an accompanying laptop computer for displaying the images. All the hardware comes from an external supplier, the software is being developed by the Maastricht start-up itself. On the computer screen, the device gives a moving 2D image of the child, showing its head, hands, fingers, legs, feet and beating heart. As it’s solely intended for pleasure, it doesn’t give more information – like the baby’s gender. The user is warned to leave any medical knowledge and skill to the specialists.
To ensure the device is 100 percent safe to use for both mother and child, Babywatcher says to have taken precautions. The scan intensity is only 61 percent and the duration of the sound waves is 83 percent below the standard of the World Health Organization (WHO) – which means that usage is limited to a maximum of 10 minutes per ultrasound. Also, only 3 separate ultrasounds can be made per day. The scan intensity and usage time cannot be adjusted by the user. According to the company, its device is FDA and WHO compliant and it has been approved by Health Canada and TÜV Rheinland.
The Babywatcher can be rented for different periods of time or bought. The device is currently available in 12 European countries but the focus is on the Netherlands, Germany and France. Three years after the start, it has already reached the milestone of 450,000 ultrasounds made. “We’ve further optimized the quality of images and simplified the use of the Babywatcher,” says founder and CEO Raymond Bergs. “All ultrasounds are also available worldwide on any type of device, like computer, tablet and smartphone.”