How a Father’s Death Inspired a Startup

Ziad Sankari learned his father’s heart attack could have been prevented. So he got to work.

For Ziad Sankari, a family tragedy was the spur that got him to start a business.

Twelve years ago, his father died of a heart attack—a painful loss in itself, but even more so when Mr. Sankari learned that the attack could have been prevented. Doctors said they might have been able to save his father if they had been able to monitor his condition outside of a hospital setting.

Later, when Mr. Sankari was a student at Lebanese American University in Lebanon, he was determined to save others from a similar fate. So he decided to leverage technologies that could keep tabs on the electrical activity in the heart and watch for abnormalities.

Three years ago, he launched Cardio Diagnostics. The company’s wearable devices collect heart data—as well as monitor specific heart conditions—and send it to the cloud to be analyzed. These remote monitoring centers then send out alerts based on the patient’s condition—notifying local emergency personnel in a crisis, for instance, or advising physicians to schedule a follow-up appointment if the patient isn’t in immediate danger.

“It’s a way for us to live longer, better and healthier lives,” he says. “Patients can use it easily, and we collect and analyze the data.”

The company has attracted thousands of users around the world. In May, Mr. Sankari appeared on a panel at the White House, along with four other entrepreneurs, as part of President Barack Obama’s Spark Initiative entrepreneur program.

Now the company is looking to expand through a new round of funding. It has already raised $540,000 in seed funding from the Beirut-based fund Berytech. The next round of funding, to raise $7 million, will be in the first quarter of 2016. The company’s 10 employees are also branching into preventive technology—creating wearable sensors that can automatically monitor caloric intake, physical activity and lifestyle habits.

“The product is scalable and the market is universal. It can be used by patients all over the world,” says Maroun Chammas, chief executive and chairman of Berytech. “The potential is enormous.”

Source: WSJ