Riverside-Based Startup’s ‘Smart’ Frames Eye Your Health
The Globe Biomedical team (left to right) John Butler, project manager; Creed Jones, CTO; Matthew Rickard, CIO; and Joshua Park, CEO. Courtesy Globe Biomedical
Riverside native Joshua Park grew up worrying his father may go blind. The elder Park has a degenerative eye disorder called keratoconus, which means irregularity of the cornea that can lead to blindness.
Park’s strong desire to help his father led to an ingenious business idea born in an engineering lab at California Baptist University, in partnership with professor Matthew Rickard, another Riverside native.
What started as eye pressure monitoring designed to track a patient’s risk of glaucoma — the most common cause of irreversible blindness — expanded to an ocular health care platform called Blink, with a microscopic camera concealed in stylish eyeglass frames.
A rendering of Blink technology. Courtesy Globe Biomedical
“We discovered the problem is limited data,” said Park, CEO of Globe Biomedical.
A typical optometrist only sees patients once a year. According to Park, capturing a moment in the eye’s health means most eye conditions go untreated or aren’t treated efficiently. With Blink, over a million data points, such as eye fatigue and screen time, can be shared wirelessly for smart disease management and prevention.
“We built technology that monitors your eye throughout the day to help your doctor understand what’s happening to you after you leave the office,” Park said. “Our goal is not to replace a doctor, but to connect doctors with patients more often.”
Soon after taking shape in 2017, Globe Biomedical produced a torrent of momentum. The startup won a $1 million National Science Foundation (NSF) small business research grant and was accepted into the ExCITE Riverside Incubator program.
“ExCITE was vital to our early success as a company,” Park said. “If we didn’t have ExCITE, it would have been much harder to get our product off the ground.”
Today, the proud ExCITE graduates have 13 employees and a 1,800-square-foot office in Canyon Crest Towne Centre. The company is currently in the middle of a seed round and crowd equity raise to provide an opportunity for the public to become partial owners.
“We are a community-focused startup, and we invite the community to be part of what we’re doing to prevent blindness,” Park explained.
Blink frames. Courtesy Globe Biomedical
Park says he finds the company’s location in Riverside particularly advantageous for several reasons including hiring.
“Being in a college town makes it easy to recruit interns, recent graduates, and grad students to come work with us,” he said.
In fact, one of Globe Biomedical’s earliest hires was a Cal Baptist sophomore who now oversees a department.
“Globe Biomedical exemplifies how small businesses strengthen our entrepreneurial ecosystem and our shared future,” said Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson, City of Riverside. “Behind the technology is a group of passionate people working hard to solve a problem that impacts us all.”
The startup is gearing up for its first product release later this year, and beginning clinical trials with the FDA to prove the technology can track a myriad of diseases, including keratoconus.
“Helping my dad preserve his sight is what gets me out of bed each morning,” Park said.
For more information about Globe Biomedical, go to www.globebiomedical.com.
For more information about Blink, go to www.blinkframes.com.