Today we have updates on two First Stage Investor portfolio recommendations: HyperSciences and 20/20 GeneSystems.
In the life of a startup, one of the more exciting and telling signs of progress is revenue generation. And HyperSciences is hitting that point, with revenue coming from NASA and Shell for separate projects.
The company, which we recommended last November, successfully completed key technical milestones in its Phase 1 NASA contract earlier this year. This should pave the way for an additional $750,000 in NASA Phase 2 funding. And a successful Phase 2 may qualify HyperSciences as a “preferred government aerospace suborbital launch provider,” which the company says could very well lead to substantial future revenue streams.
As part of a Shell-funded joint industry drilling project, the company completed its “Milestone 1” phase and plans to begin field trials of its HyperCore technology next quarter. The field testing aims to collect further evidence that HyperSciences’ HyperDrill can improve the speed, efficiency and safety of energy drilling. This is a key stepping stone to full validation. If the tests are successful, a world of opportunities will open up for the company.
HyperSciences also recently completed its full engineering design of the HyperCore 50 – the last step in readying its technology for a fully manufactured product. The HyperCore 50 is based on the HyperCore system, which is capable of repetitively firing projectiles or payloads at Mach 5, five times the speed of sound. And many of its parts are either already out for bid or being manufactured ahead of full assembly.
HyperSciences is also planning to demo multiple HyperCore units for mining and tunneling applications in the months ahead. If successful, the company believes it will be in a strong position to win multiple orders from major mining companies and equipment manufacturers.
HyperSciences is currently raising on SeedInvest. It plans to wrap up its fundraising campaign this March.
20/20 GeneSystems, which we recommended in December 2017, has made notable progress in several key areas. It has begun pilot projects with walk-in clinics in four states: Virginia, North Carolina, Kansas and my home state of Maryland. It expects to be adding more clinics in the coming months.
The company has also begun several marketing initiatives outside the U.S. It now has a Middle East presence, having signed a distributor based in Egypt. He will be promoting 20/20’s lung cancer and multi-cancer tests.
And in Taiwan, two major hospitals will be using and evaluating 20/20’s OneTEST artificial intelligence-powered cloud solution over the next several months. Assuming positive results, 20/20 expects to conclude licensing agreements with them, which would open the door to other hospitals and clinics in Taiwan using its tests.
20/20 CEO Jonathan Cohen says a successful debut in Taiwan will also open up opportunities in other Asian countries – particularly China. A Chinese study (published late last year) of more than 2,000 people tried to reproduce the results of 20/20’s first-generation lung cancer test (named PAULA’s Test) that were published in 2015. The Chinese report graded PAULA’s Test as being close to “excellent diagnostic efficacy.”
Since then, the company has further enhanced the test’s accuracy by adding a machine learning algorithm to the methodology.
The company is also making strides to protect its technology. Its second lung cancer test and algorithm patent was approved last December, and it has several more patent applications in the pipeline.
Cohen has done an excellent job of making sure the company hits its marks on schedule. Our conviction on the company’s bright future and high upside remains very much intact.
All in all, 20/20 has made impressive strides in validating its technology abroad and furthering its marketing reach both domestically and globally. In our last update on 20/20 of a couple of months ago, we noted that it’s raising again. This latest round ends on February 15.
Invest early and well,
Co-Founder, First Stage Investor