This Lebanese Surgeon Just Sold His Startup For $500 Million

Lebanese creativity and drive to success have no limits. All the success stories that keep making the news are an indication of that, and now we hear of another incredible one.

British Lebanese surgeon Jean Nehme and his partner Andre Chow launched in 2013 a surgical simulation application that allows doctors to train virtually before surgery. 

Touch Surgery is a new technology that helps young or new doctors practice the surgery beforehand. The platform is an interactive surgical simulator for healthcare professionals that provides a detailed guide to surgical procedures. 

By using this technology, inexperienced doctors can learn, test their knowledge, and train for the surgery before operating on the patient.

In order to start their technology, Dr. Nehme and his partner Dr. Chow, newly-graduated surgeons back then, managed to secure investments from the London-based Balderton Capital firm, which invests in early-stage European technology.

Simultaneously, CBS’ Redline series invested in the project for its Episode 1, along with Leap Ventures and numerous angel investors. The young surgeons hence managed to secure 10 million dollars at the start. 

Hala Fadel, the co-founder of Leap Ventures based in Beirut and Dubai, stated that the Lebanese have an excellent reputation in the health sector.

In her words: “The health sector is very promising, especially for the Lebanese: health is an area in which they have an excellent reputation.”

The young surgeons ended raising a total of $40 million, achieving the development of Touch Surgery artificial intelligence (AI) software, a product of Digital Surgery, to assist the surgical teams to make their procedures safer.

The outcome was a total success, attracting a line up of numerous interested buyers and investors, among which Johnson & Johnson and the Japanese SoftBank Group Intuitive Surgical.

However, it was Medtronic PLC, an Irish company based in Dublin and one of the largest medical technology companies, that succeeded in acquiring the Touch Surgery for $500 million.

According to Robotics Business Review, both Medtronic and Digital Surgery are now working together to co-develop systems that provide Artificial Intelligence and data analytics for laparoscopic and robot-assisted surgery.

Dr. Nehme told Robotics Business Review: “By joining forces with Medtronic, we will finally apply computing and AI to surgery on a meaningful scale with a goal of helping more patients in more places benefit from consistently high-quality surgical care.”

“Joining Medtronic creates an incredible opportunity to realize the promise of reducing unwarranted variability in surgery,” he added.

As Hala Fadel of Leap Ventures rightfully states, “We must continue to believe in Lebanese entrepreneurship and to invest in export industries with high added value, all the more in the current context.”

Touch Surgery believes that “the decision comes before the incision.” Accordingly, “Cognitive decision-making should be mastered before you attempt the manual parts of an operation,” the team asserts.

Thanks to Dr. Nehme and his partner, surgery has just taken a leap into the future!

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