Health Tech Startup Founder Talks Wilmington Vs. Raleigh, New Product

By Audrey Elsberry, posted Mar 6, 2024
Artemis Immersive conducts a demonstration of its virtual reality technology which aims to help patients view medical scans. (Photo courtesy of Artemis Immersive)
With roots in Raleigh and on the coast, a startup founded last spring has one proverbial foot in each region as its leaders decide on a headquarters location.

Artemis Immersive is a health tech company currently headquartered in Ocean Isle Beach. The co-founders are husband and wife Adam Isley and Kayla Barbrey, who started the company in May of 2023 with Matthew Raffa, a former health system executive.

The company creates digital renderings of medical scans that can be viewed in an augmented reality (AR) setting. Users can wear virtual reality headsets to view the renderings or view them on their phones using a scannable QR code, Isley said.

By making three-dimensional digital copies of CT or MRI scans, the technology can help physicians explain concepts to patients. The software can categorize parts of the scan by color or label certain organs depicted in the scan to allow patients to better understand what they’re looking at.

The company is in the process of signing contracts with independent clinics doing elective scanning and preventative scanning, which, Isley said, are not for diagnosing purposes. This is because insurance has proven to be a hurdle for the company in getting its software into the hands of clinicians diagnosing patients.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration testing process is another hurdle for the young company, so while they chip away at that process, Isley’s team is putting their tech in the courtroom to enter the market.

“We started working to help injury litigation attorneys explain to a jury what’s going on without having to hire a radiologist to come in and testify,” he said. “We started doing that really just to get some money coming in the door while we get everything stood up.”

While Artemis Immersive is a young startup, Isley said his team wants to open a storefront that can display the technology for people to interact with. For now, they either work together online or out of a coworking space in Raleigh with the “headquarters” being Isley's basement in Ocean Isle Beach. As the company grows, Isley is thinking about where to officially plant its flag.

Isley is a University of North Carolina Wilmington alumnus and lived in Wilmington for seven years. He said he would like to work out of Wilmington if he can afford to.

Raleigh is also a viable option considering the coworking space they already occupy there. Isley said Wilmington is attractive because of the startup's ability to train its workforce using only its technology. In Raleigh, much of the tech talent is trained on a different three-dimensional animation model, so his team would need to re-train their workforce. This, plus the quality of life in the beach town, makes Wilmington a promising option for the company, he said.

Isley and Barbrey have bootstrapped their business so far, using their own capital. They are trying to gather a small friends-and-family funding round to get things off the ground.

The startup was selected for the CED Venture Connect pitch event in Raleigh. Isley said the event will be his first time pitching the company to an audience of that scale — an estimated 1,200 people were in the audience of last year’s event. Isley is in the process of refining his pitch with the coaches he’s connected with through CED for his pitch at the end of the month.
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