Riverside-based startup ‘smart’ executives are watching your health

Published: 08/04/2022

The Globe Biomedical team (left to right) John Butler, project manager; Credo Jones, technical director; Matthew Rickard, CIO; and Joshua Park, CEO. Courtesy of Globe Biomedical

Joshua Park, originally from Riverside, grew up fearing his father was going blind. The elder Park suffers from a degenerative eye disorder called keratoconus, which means an irregularity in the cornea that can lead to blindness.

Park’s strong desire to help his father led to an ingenious business idea born in an engineering lab at California Baptist University, in partnership with fellow Riverside native Professor Matthew Rickard.

What started as eye pressure monitoring designed to track a patient’s risk of glaucoma – the most common cause of irreversible blindness – has expanded to an eye health care platform called Blink, with a microscopic camera concealed in elegant spectacle frames.

A render of Blink technology

A render of Blink technology. Courtesy of Globe Biomedical

“We discovered that the problem is that the data is limited,” said Park, CEO of Globe Biomedical.

A typical optometrist only sees patients once a year. According to Park, capturing a moment in eye health means most eye conditions go untreated or not treated effectively. With Blink, over a million data points, such as eye strain and screen time, can be shared wirelessly for intelligent disease management and prevention.

“We’ve built technology that monitors your eye throughout the day to help your doctor understand what’s happening to you after you leave the office,” Park said. “Our goal is not to replace a doctor, but to connect doctors more often with patients.”

Shortly after taking shape in 2017, Globe Biomedical produced a torrent of momentum. The startup won a $1 million National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Research Grant and was accepted into the ExCITE Riverside Incubator program.

“ExCITE was vital to our initial success as a business,” Park said. “If we didn’t have ExCITE, it would have been much harder to get our product off the ground.”

Today, the proud graduates of ExCITE have 13 employees and an 1,800 square foot office at Canyon Crest Towne Center. The company is currently in the midst of a funding round and fundraising to give the public the opportunity to become part owners.

“We’re a community-driven startup, and we invite the community to be a part of what we’re doing to prevent blindness,” Park explained.

Flashing frames

Flashing frames. Courtesy of Globe Biomedical

Park says he finds the company’s location in Riverside particularly advantageous for several reasons, including hiring.

“Being in a college town makes it easier to recruit interns, recent graduates, and graduate students to come and work with us,” he said.

In fact, one of Globe Biomedical’s first hires was a sophomore from Cal Baptist who now oversees a department.

“Globe Biomedical exemplifies how small businesses strengthen our entrepreneurial ecosystem and our shared future,” said Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson, Town of Riverside. “Behind the technology is a group of passionate people working hard to solve a problem that affects us all.”

The startup is gearing up for the release of its first product later this year and is beginning clinical trials with the FDA to prove the technology can track a myriad of diseases, including keratoconus.

“Helping my dad save his eyesight is what gets me out of bed every morning,” Park said.

For more information about Globe Biomedical, visit www.globebiomedical.com.

For more information about Blink, visit www.blinkframes.com.

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