Crowdfunding / Funding / Health tech / Investing / Pitches

UE LifeSciences’ Philly founder nabbed all 7 investors — and crowdfunded support — on new show ‘Unicorn Hunters’

Mihir Shah, cofounder of the University City company, made his first-ever in-person pitch to investors including Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak and former *NSYNC member Lance Bass.

UE LifeSciences' Mihir Shah on "Unicorn Hunters." (Courtesy photo)
AnotherShark Tank“-like show, another Philly startup funded.

Unicorn Hunters,” which mixes live pitching to a cast of investors with a crowdfunding campaign, began airing online and on Amazon Prime this year, and Philly-based life sciences entrepreneur Mihir Shah made a recent appearance for his first ever live pitch.

That’s right: The cofounder of University City-based UE LifeSciences, maker of early detection devices for breast and cervical cancer, had only ever pitched to investors via Zoom meetings.

He took the stage over the summer for a one-shot-only, live pitch to the seven investors of “Unicorn Hunters.” That’s Rosie Rios, former treasurer of the United States; Steve Wozniak, cofounder of Apple; Silvina Moschini, founder and CEO of SheWorks!; Alex Konanykhin, CEO and cofounder of TransparentBusiness; Moe Vela, former senior advisor to then-VP Joe Biden; former *NSYNC member Lance Bass; and actor and producer Chris Diamantopoulos.

Shah was introduced to the show by the tech transfer office of his alma mater, Drexel University, which helped license the company’s technology. He hadn’t heard of it before, but knew that U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission had announced new changes to regulations for investment crowdfunding that would make it easier for more people to back companies they believe in. So he headed out to Los Angeles for his first pitch to other humans in real life.

“What I’m holding here has the potential to help save 10 million lives,” the cofounder says at the top of his pitch.

He shared statistics, including that one in four cases of cancer in women will be breast cancer, and that 2.3 million cases were expected to develop in 2021. It’s also the most lethal cancer among women, Shah said, but early detection can save up to 90% of those cases.

The iBreastExam, a handheld device with a mobile app, was developed to detect tiny breast lumps without invasive procedures and in earlier circumstances than traditionally doctors are able to. The company has sold 750 scanners that have performed 1.5 million scans, identifying 200 cases of cancer, Shah told the unicorns. The device costs about $5,000, and it often bundled in with the price of scans. For people receiving the scans, they cost between $7 and $15, the cofounder said.

Cofounders Mihir Shah (left) and Bhaumik Sanghvi. (Courtesy photo)

Shah also unveiled a new $200 device the company is rolling out — the Selfli, which allows users to scan and record exams at home through its app. A third device, a colposcope, allows practitioners to examine the cervix.

The company’s raised $6.6 million so far from angel investors, grants and awards, but was seeking $20 million Seres A to accomplish their growth plans, he said. After about 10 minutes of questions, Shah exited the stage so the cast of investors could deliberate.

“Going in, I knew the format was that the bigger opportunity here was the global interest, not just the investors on the panel,” Shah told this week. That’s because the audience has the chance to invest, too. “You get the heavyweight to do due diligence on behalf of your company, and the panelists are doing due diligence on behalf of the audience at home. But I had a strong feeling we were going to get everyone to say yes.”

The investors presented Shah with two minor concerns that the founder said he plans on implementing: nailing down the numbers and bringing on more women to the leadership team. Ultimately, all seven invested either financial or business help.

And in the days since the episode aired last week, Shah said, the response has been “overwhelming.”

“We’ve already received investment interest in the seven figures,” he said. “It’s showing us that people are relating to our vision, our product, our hope for the future. Investment aside, we get to tell the whole world our future.”

Check out Shah’s pitch below:

Companies: Drexel University

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