Qardio co-founder Marco Peluso had a dedicated career in finance for 14 years. He was an investment banker for JPMorgan, then a partner at a hedge fund.
But everything changed when his father had a stroke while they were on the phone.
“I was lucky enough to understand what was happening,” he said, remembering that he quickly got in touch with a neighbor to take his father to the hospital. But doctors couldn't identify what triggered the minor stroke, known as a TIA, or Transient Ischemic Attack.
Six months later, his father found himself struggling to finish his usual morning jog.
“It was shocking for me to know that even now, we didn't have a good way of understanding or proving what was happening,” he said.
He was compelled to leave his banking and investment career to start Qardio, which is set to launch an ECG monitor for consumers next year at a price of $449. They also have a second product, a blood pressure monitor called QardioArm that will retail for $99.
The ECG monitoring device, called the QardioCore, streams data to the owner's phone and can even send it on to a person's health care provider through a cloud-based service. It lets a doctor “see” a patient without really seeing them in person.
Peluso says his QardioCore product is less effort-intensive than other sophisticated monitors, which might require skin patches, shaving a person's chest or adhesive gel.
“It doesn't require any skin preparation,” he said. “You put it on your chest, it switches itself on when it detects your body, then wirelessly sends signals to you iPhone, which then go to our server.”
He says the two devices fix a major problem in health monitoring because they make ECG and blood pressure-tracking much more passive, meaning doctors can collect a stream of data and put it in context instead of taking one-off measurements.
Peluso and his co-founder had a team of industrial designers and engineers work on designing both the QardioArm and QardioCore for the past year. They manufacture in Southeast Asia and plan to retail both devices online and through brick-and-mortar partnerships early next year.