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Heard on the Street: Mayo Clinic-spawned software firm lands $5.4 million

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A Rochester medical software start-up with deep ties to Mayo Clinicrecently wrapped up a $5.4 million round of funding to expand its sales and product development.

Ambient Clinical Analytics, founded in 2013, makes analytical software that helps physicians make decisions about patient treatment in emergency room and intensive care situations.

It licenses the core of the AWARE software from Mayo Clinic, describes it as "a clinical decision support tool."

Ambient CEO Al Berningsaid this latest infusion will help the growing firm "scale" up its activities.

"Our plan is to add five to 10 people over the next year to drive sales and serve customers. The majority of that staffing will be based here," he said.

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The company, which now has 10 on staff, is based in the Mayo Clinic Business Acceleratorin the Minnesota Biobusiness Centerin downtown Rochester.

"If we hit our growth goals, we expect to need space somewhere outside of here (the accelerator) within the next year," said Berning.

Things are now all lined up for Ambient to pick up speed. The FDA gave 510(k) clearance for Ambient's AWARE software platform as a Class 2 device in April 2015. Recently, Ambient worked out a deal to collaborate on AWARE with medical giant Phillips Healthcare's IntelliSpace Console Critical Care product.

"We're on track for what we'd expect for a company at this stage." he said. "External customers are in process of being installed now."

Berning is known in Rochester as a former IBMer, a co-founder of Pemstarand former CEO of Hardcore Computers/LiquidCool Solutions. He says the current trend of hospitals adopting Lean Quality and Six Sigma initiative, like technology companies did in previous decades.

"Our tools fit perfectly in supporting those type of programs and we've demonstrated that it's worked at Mayo," he said.

The company has also started partnering with two health care-focused venture capital firms, Waterline Venturesof Cambridge, Mass. and Bluestem Capitalof Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

"Mayo Clinics' extensive research and Ambient's ability to support FDA Class II clearance and launch products to the market is a powerful combination," stated Tyler Stowater,partner and vice president of Bluestem.

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Robbie Greenglass, managing director of Waterline Ventures, serves on Ambient's board of directors

Prior to the Series A funding round, Ambient Clinical received $2.9 million in seed funding from Mayo Clinic, Rochester Area Economic Development Inc., Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, Social Capital, Rock Health, Gopher Angelsand angel investors. The seed funding was converted to Series A preferred stock at the closing. - Jeff Kiger

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