22 Oct Medical Cyberworlds closes round of angel funding
Madison, Wis. — Medical Cyberworlds, a Madison-based medical software development company, has obtained a round of funding from individual angel investors and a Wisconsin capital fund.
Fred Kron, chief executive of Medical Cyberworlds, declined to confirm the funding or comment on the progress of the company since it was profiled in a 2006 WTN article. However, a source close to the company estimated that nearly $500,000 has been committed by individual investors, including Milwaukee executive John Byrnes, and Kegonsa Partners of Madison.
Medical Cyberworlds, a University of Wisconsin-Madison spin off started by Kron, a family physician and a faculty member in the Department of Family Medicine at UW-Madison, is developing a simulation-based training platform for clinicians to improve the doctor-patient relationship and healthcare education. The virtual environment will include elements of interactive and collaborative training, computer game simulation, and experiential technology.
In the 2006 article, Kron characterized the current approach as “drill-and-kill,” where medical students are lectured to death. He said new generations of medical students are accustomed to the multi-user game environment and interactivity that are features of Medical Cyberworlds’ technology.
Kron is not only a practicing family physician but a cancer survivor and someone well versed in entertainment media. As a former multimedia writer for entertainment entities like Universal Studios, Metro Goldwyn Mayer, and Disney Studios, he has more than 50 television, interactive media, and web-writing credits. Among the titles he’s associate with are Freddi Fish and Spy Fox.
Kron isn’t relying solely on his own design experience. He has assembled a design team that includes Noah Falstein, president of The Inspiracy, who has worked with George Lucas at LucasArts and Steven Spielberg at DreamWorks Interactive; Ron Gilbert, a producer at LucasArts who co-founded Humongous Entertainment and Cave Dog Entertainment; and Carolyn Handler Miller, author of Digital Storytelling: A Creator’s Guide to Interactive Entertainment.
The team also includes Doug Maynard, professor and director of graduate studies in the Department of Sociology of UW-Madison; Larry Landweber, a John P. Morgridge Professor in UW-Madison’s Computer Sciences Department; and Mike Gleicher, also a professor in the UW-Madison Department of Computer Sciences.
John Byrnes, executive managing director at Mason Wells, committed an undisclosed amount of personal funds as an angel investor. Besides seeing merit in the idea, Byrnes said he invested to help connect the company with the Medical College of Wisconsin.
“It’s a good deal,” said Byrnes, who knows of similar ideas under development but said Medical Cyberworlds is different. The other firms he knows of are in New York and Washington, but they concentrate on simulations in emergency rooms and operating rooms, whereas Medical Cyberworlds focuses on clinical simulations.
“I think the company has an opportunity to focus on clinical practices that would help uncover disease states,” he said.
Medical Cyberworlds is certified by the Wisconsin Department of Commerce as a qualified new business venture. As such, those who provide angel investments are eligible to receive state tax credits under the Act 255 program. The company, registered as Verona-based corporation with the state Department of Financial Institutions on Feb. 15, 2006, was qualified for the tax credit program on Aug. 20, 2007.
Ken Johnson of Kegonsa Partners declined to comment on the size of the round and whether an investment has been made.
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