Theatre an AI platform that analyzes surgery videos, closes out its series A at $39.5M

When it comes to video-based data, advances in computer vision have given a huge boost to the world of research, making the process of analyzing and drawing insights from moving images something that is scalable beyond the limits of a small team of humans.

A startup called Theator has been applying this concept to the world of healthcare: It’s using AI to “read” video captured during operations, to look for best practices but also to help identify key moments when an operation may have taken the wrong turn. Today, it is announcing $24 million in funding — a sign of how both the medical world is adapting and adopting advances in AI to improve its own work; and how investors are stepping up to bet on the opportunity ahead.

The funding is a significant extension to Theator’s Series A of $15.5 million from February 2021, bringing the total for the round to $39.5 million, and $42.5 million overall.

As with the earlier tranche, Insight Partners led this latest investment. Previous backers Blumberg Capital, Mayo Clinic, NFX, StageOne Ventures, iAngels and former Netflix Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt also participated, alongside new backers iCON and Ariel Cohen, TripActions’ CEO and co-founder.

The valuation is not being disclosed, but the Series A is notable for another reason: bringing in a big strategic investor, in the form of the Mayo Clinic, which is working with Theator — based in Palo Alto with operations also in Israel — on using its video analytics tools. Other partners include the Canadian Association of General Surgeons and others that it’s not disclosing yet. In total, Theator’s library now has amassed 30,000 hours of anonymized video, with almost 1 billion analyzed frames.

The opportunity in the market that Theator is tackling is this: In the world of surgery, there is a huge trove of video already being created, specifically by way of the camera probes that are used in non-invasive procedures.

Naturally, the main purpose for most of this video is for surgeons to be able to track what they are doing in real time. But Theator’s premise is that — tapped in an effective way — this video could be an invaluable resource to those doctors, the care providing establishments where they work, and potentially to the fields in which they’re working (that is, the wider network of other physicians working in the same areas as they are), if it could be examined and compared against similar procedures carried out elsewhere, and then matched up against outcomes.

“Theator’s technology has proven to be the critical next step in surgical advancement,” said Brad Fiedler, VP at Insight Partners, in a statement. “Integrating AI and computer vision into the operating room improves surgical care and is transforming surgery for the better. We’re excited to double down on our investment, especially as Theator’s expertise in AI and computer vision is now enhancing patient outcomes across an ever-growing range of commercial partners.”

To date, Theator has been negotiating its deals with care providers — that is, hospitals and clinics where procedures are carried out — although you could imagine a scenario where insurance companies, individual doctors and maybe even patients will be wanting to access this kind of data to understand more about what is going on, and perhaps more importantly — a little like dash cams — to have a record of what is going on in the event that something goes wrong.

Similarly, there is a whole world of procedures out there that the startup is not currently tackling. Wolf described minimally invasive procedures as “low hanging fruit” in this regard because these operations already use cameras and are capturing video. Over time, there are a number of other, even more complicated, procedures that you could imagine could benefit from a similar treatment.

Theatre seems to be an interesting and innovative startup in field of healthcare. I would like to congratulate them for the funding and my best wishes to the entire team.

Shishir Gupta CEO & Founder startuplanes

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