San Francisco’s Osso VR collected $66 million in Series C funding led by Oak HC/FT, the parties tell Axios exclusively. 

Why it matters: Surgical training hasn’t evolved in 30-plus years, but Osso VR is looking to change that by empowering health care professionals with virtual reality. 

Training and assessing surgeons more efficiently can drive up the adoption of modern and hard-to-learn medtech, and democratize surgical education. 

“The innovation from the medical device industry is providing us an incredible opportunity to treat patients much more consistently and with optimized outcomes,” said Justin Barad, Osso’s co-founder and a practicing pediatric orthopedic surgeon. 

Details: Osso VR has now raised to about $109 million since 2016, and Barad expects to double its employee count to 300-plus by year-end.

  • Signalfire, GSR Ventures, Tiger Global Management and Kaiser Permanente Ventures also participated in the funding. 
  • Its peers are largely focused on orthopedics, but Osso VR is developing modules across specialties such as spine, interventional cardiology, and more.

Zoom in: The funding will let Osso VR expand beyond its existing 150 surgical modules and specialties, while expanding access to health care professionals. 

With headsets, surgeons can explore new complex procedures at their own pace, plus practice and fine-tune skills much quicker. It also reduces travel and scheduling challenges. 

“Surgeons are genuinely interested in getting better at their craft,” Vig Chandramouli, a partner at Oak HC/FT, tells Axios. “This gamifies what they already do in their heads.” 

The benefits go beyond just the surgeon, addressing the “team variability challenge,” Barad said, by creating a way to rapidly onboard new surgical technicians that rotate in and out of ORs.

Between the lines: With a global estimate of about 1.1 million surgeons worldwide and 310 million major surgeries per year, the VR surgical training could drive “improvement in global [health care] delivery that’s rarely seen”, Barad says. 

  • Osso data shows that surgeons are able to cut down their time in the OR by half and improve performance by 230%.
  • Performance data at the clinician level can command significant interest from payors, if leveraged correctly, Chandramouli adds. 

What else: Osso VR could also level the playing field for sales reps at medtechs. 

Historically speaking, large medtechs had a resource advantage over smaller players. 

Osso VR “is changing that perception to say you don’t need to be in front of a clinician for them to get your product; there’s other ways to engage [to achieve mainstream adoption],” Chandramouli says. 

Reality check: There’s a subset on the medtech side that believes VR needs to be hyper-realistic. 

“Those folks have to think about VR as speeding up the time to a cadaver lab, or reducing the number of times [in one],” the investor notes. 

“Practicing on a cadaver and only doing so once or twice is not getting us to that point where you can successfully adopt a procedure,” Barad adds.

The bottom line: VR-driven surgical training remains a nascent category, but Barad, who got his start in video game development, is now steering the world’s largest VR surgical training library with a lot of money behind it.