Plano app secures funding to prevent short-sightedness among children

Mon Jun 10, 2019 - 8:23am UTC
plano mobile app

plano mobile app

10/6/2019 – The Singapore health tech startup behind the development of proper smart device usage app called plano has recently raised a new round of funding from several investors.

Among investors who joined in the round is philanthropist Peter Lim through his investment holding company Meriton Capital. The funding amount was not disclosed.

Plano is designed to ensure safe usage of mobile devices among children, controlling their time spent on devices, correct face-to-screen distance, good eye-care habits, as well as encourage device-free outdoor activity.

“For the first time ever, this includes Big Data analytics into myopia and smart device behavior,” said plano’s Board Director and Duke-NUS Ophthalmology Professor Jonathan Crowston.

Starting in late 2017, plano was started via a project led by Associate Professor Mohamed Dirani at the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI) – Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) Ophthalmic Technologies Incubator. The scientist-slash-entrepreneur rapidly moved it from government grants to this latest stage.

The app boasts of a suite of smart child safety functions using scientific features to help modify behavior in children to reduce myopia-related risk factors and empower healthier device usage.

According to the Singaporean startup, the app has already attracted over 100,000 family registrations in Singapore and abroad in countries including India, Malaysia, and Australia.

Capital from this funding will be used to strengthen plano’s market position globally as the app is on its way to over ten more countries, including China and the United States. Part of the funding will also go into fast-tracking the execution of its research plan.

There is currently 1.5 billion people across the world suffering from myopia, otherwise known as short-sightedness. According to a recent study by Brien Holden Vision Institute, it is estimated that the figure will increase to a staggering 5 billion people by 2050, based on current trends.

“We are now well-placed to expand our blueprint globally and strengthen our collaborative efforts with government and industry partners to tackle the global epidemic of myopia, that is already affecting up to 90 percent of our children and teenagers in the region,” said Dirani.

This news is published on Reuters.

Vivian Foo is a reporter who writes about Southeast Asia’s technology and startup space. The entry point which led her to write about the startup ecosystem was her fascination of the dot-com boom. She is taking a deep dive into how the entrepreneurial mindset works and hopes to share the insights, innovation, and stories of the startups with her readers.