20 Disruptive Neuroscience Startups (2021)

by Josh Howarth - August 18, 2021

The human brain is a perplexing mystery.

Advancements in neuroscience are helping us understand this complex organ and everything associated with it.

In 2020, the global neuroscience industry was valued at an estimated $30.3 billion.

By 2027, it’s projected to grow to $37 billion (CAGR of 2.9%.)

We’ve rounded up 20 neuroscience startups that are accelerating the growth of this space.

1. Ceribell

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5-year search growth: 388%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2014

Location: Mountain View, CA

Funding: $121M (Series C)

What they do: Ceribell manufactures FDA-approved electroencephalography (EEG) systems. The startup’s goal is to make EEG devices more accessible. Their system has been designed to provide an instant diagnosis of brain disorders without requiring a specialist. In 2017, Ceribell’s EEG system won The Good Design Award.

2. Neuralink

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5-year search growth: 1400%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2016

Location: Fremont, CA

Funding: $363M (Series C)

What they do: Neuralink specializes in building brain-computer interfaces (BCI). Their main product, called the “Link,” is designed to help people with paralysis function normally in their day-to-day lives. It works by recording and interpreting the brain activity produced by neurons. In July 2021, Neuralink secured $205 million in Series C funding led by Vy Capital and others, including Google Ventures and DFJ Growth.

3. Amylyx Pharmaceuticals

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5-year search growth: 4500%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2014

Location: Cambridge, MA

Funding: $202.2M (Series C)

What they do: A pharmaceutical company, Amylyx develops therapeutics for neurological disorders and diseases. The startup is mainly known for its Alzheimer's solutions, meant to prevent degeneration of brain cells. The company’s founders, Joshua Cohen and Justin Klee won the “Young Innovator” Xconomy Award in 2019.

4. Blackrock Neurotech

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5-year search growth: 0%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2008

Location: Salt Lake City, UT

Funding: $10M (Series Unknown)

What they do: Blackrock Neurotech offers brain-computer interfaces and related clinical solutions. Their technology, called the “NeuroPort Array,” is used in 28 of the 30 BCI implants done worldwide. According to their website, they have tested the longevity of their tech for 6 years in humans and more than a decade in non-human primates.

5. Verge Genomics

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5-year search growth: 50%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2015

Location: San Francisco, CA

Funding: $36.1M (Series A)

What they do: A biotech and life sciences startup, Verge Genomics uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to aid in drug discovery for neurodegenerative diseases. Specifically, their tech uses computational genomics to discover novel gene targets that can potentially result in successful drug discovery. Verge Genomics partners with over 25 organizations, including universities, institutes, tissue banks, and pharma companies.

6. Thync

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5-year search growth: -75%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2011

Location: Los Gatos, CA

Funding: $13M (Series B)

What they do: Thync designs and sells wearable devices for non-invasive neurostimulation. Their solutions are designed to help improve brain function. To be specific, they can potentially help improve sleep, mood, and energy. According to their website, their flagship product called the “FeelZing” increased the energy levels of 84% of people involved in an experiment.

7. BrainCo

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5-year search growth: 0%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2015

Location: Somerville, MA

Funding: $6M (Seed)

What they do: A neurotechnology startup, BrainCo specializes in brain-machine interface technology. They have several brands of neurotech-focused mental state training and prosthetics. One of them is a wearable device designed to reduce stress with neurofeedback. In 2019, BrainCo won the Brave Awards for the “Best AI Application in Health and Fitness.”

8. BioSerenity

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5-year search growth: 10%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2014

Location: Paris, France

Funding: $97.7M (Series B)

What they do: A medtech startup focused on neuroscience, BioSerenity manufactures wearable devices. One of those devices is an EEG system that’s capable of acquiring physiological signals. BioSerenity’s goal is to use the data collected using their device to accelerate research on epilepsy. Their global team consists of 500+ employees who are scattered across 3 continents.

9. MicroTransponder

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5-year search growth: 269%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2007

Location: Dallas, TX

Funding: $36.1M (Debt Financing)

What they do: MicroTransponder develops and sells neurostimulation devices and therapies to treat neurological conditions. Their therapeutic solutions can potentially offer relief against issues like chronic pain, limb mobility, and more. It’s estimated that MicroTransponder earns up to $25M in annual revenue.

10. Neurable

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5-year search growth: 900%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2015

Location: Cambridge, MA

Funding: $9M (Series Unknown)

What they do: Originally a VR-focused startup, Neurable creates brain-computer interface headphones designed to understand human emotions. They work by converting electrical signals produced in the brain into insights with machine learning. With that data, users can potentially optimize their day-to-day activities and avoid burnout. In 2019, Neurable raised $6 million in Series A funding led by M Ventures, with participation from Point Judith Capital and Loup Ventures.

11. Flow Neuroscience

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5-year search growth: 400%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2016

Location: Malmo, Sweden

Funding: $2.6M (Convertible Note)

What they do: A healthcare and wellness company, Flow Neuroscience offers medical devices intended to treat depression and other mental disorders. Their “medication-free” treatment involves a wearable device that links to a mobile app. This system can then drive users to engage in activities that can help cope with depression. According to their website, 81% of their users feel better within the first 3 weeks.

12. NextMind

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5-year search growth: 4600%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2017

Location: Paris, France

Funding: $4.6M (Seed)

What they do: NextMind specializes in building brain-computer interfaces. Specifically, they offer a dev kit that includes a wearable EEG device and a headset designed to track what the user sees in real-time. Developers can supposedly use this tech to easily create VR experiences. NextMind won two CES Innovation Awards in 2020 – one for “Best of Innovation in Augmented and Virtual Reality” and an honoree award in “Wearable Technologies.”

13. Axorus

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5-year search growth: 0%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2019

Location: Loos, France

Funding: $1.4M (Seed)

What they do: Axorus creates neuro-electronic interfaces designed to manage the symptoms of neurological diseases. The company’s goal is to use these interfaces to develop implants that can help patients improve the quality of their lives. Axorus recently secured seed funding led by Finovam Gestion, with participation from Happy Capital and Nord France Amorcage.

14. Motorica

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5-year search growth: 0%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2015

Location: Moscow, Russia

Funding: $5.6M (Series B)

What they do: Motorica builds and commercializes prosthetic arms and hands. Their product line includes “bionic prosthetics”, which means that they essentially connect with the mind. According to their website, Motorica’s customer base expands across 8 countries. The startup won the “Made in Russia” prize under the science and technology category by Snob Magazine.

15. Wren Therapeutics

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5-year search growth: 227%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2016

Location: Cambridge, UK

Funding: $40.3M (Series Unknown)

What they do: Wren Therapeutics is a biosciences company specializing in kinetic drug discovery for protein misfolding diseases (including neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.) So far, more than 1,000 papers have been published to validate the research of Wren Therapeutics in different medical journals.

16. Cala Health

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5-year search growth: 229%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2014

Location: Burlingame, CA

Funding: $71.3M (Series C)

What they do: A bioelectronic medicine company, Cala Health offers wearable devices designed to provide neurotherapeutics. Their main solution is a non-invasive neuromodulation therapy called the “Cala Trio,” designed to offer relief against essential tremor (ET). In 2020, Cala Health won the Edison Award for “Diagnostics & Disease Treatment.”

17. BrainQ

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5-year search growth: -22%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2016

Location: Jerusalem, Israel

Funding: $8.8M (Series Unknown)

What they do: BrainQ is developing precision neuro therapies by leveraging BCI technology. Using their AI-powered system, they non-invasively extract insights from patients to develop therapies that could help with neuro recovery. BrainQ was one of the 75 companies that received funding under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program. It was also recognized as a promising startup by Microsoft and Calcalist in 2018.

18. Arctop

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5-year search growth: 800%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2016

Location: San Francisco, CA

Funding: $5M (Seed)

What they do: A SaaS startup, Arctop offers brain-decoding solutions. Specifically, their technology helps developers understand human emotions and feelings, which, in turn, can help them develop applications. They do this through wearable BCI devices that are equipped with sensors. Their clientele includes names like Sony Music, Daikin, and the United States Airforce.

19. Winterlight Labs

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5-year search growth: 7400%

Search growth status: Regular

Year founded: 2015

Location: Toronto, Canada

Funding: $5.2M (Series A)

What they do: Winterlight Labs offers diagnostic solutions for cognition impairment. They do this through a tablet-based platform that can detect changes in patterns in speech and language. It’s estimated that Winterlight Labs earns up to $5M in annual revenue.

20. Neurotrack

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5-year search growth: 366%

Search growth status: Peaked

Year founded: 2012

Location: Redwood City, CA

Funding: $50.4M (Series C)

What they do: A biotechnology company, Neurotrack offers diagnostics and preventive solutions for Alzheimer’s. They have a cognitive health program, under which, they use proprietary eye-tracking technology to assess the brain health of users and offer personalized intervention. According to their website, Neurotrack received a $3.3 million grant from the National Institute on Aging in 2019.

Conclusion

That wraps up our list of the best neuroscience startups to keep an eye on in 2021.

From ventures focused on treating Alzheimer’s to companies working on cutting-edge tech to unlock the mysteries of the mind, this industry is trying to solve the biggest problems of medical and mental health science.

Written By
Josh Howarth
Co-founder of Exploding Topics.
548 Market St. Suite 95149
San Francisco, California
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