Nephra – May Newsletter

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April was an incredibly productive month for us at Nephra. We traveled, pitched to investors, and solidified our value proposition and market strategy over the course of the past four weeks. We look to build off this momentum as we enter May and June and transition to more full-time roles.

– Nephra placed 1st at the Engineering Open House (The Grainger College of Engineering) startup showcase, taking home $500 in non-dilutive funding.
– Nephra placed 2nd at the Cozad New Venture Challenge (Technology Entrepreneur Center), taking home $35,000 in non-dilutive funding and services.
– Nephra placed 3rd in innovation at the 20th Annual Health Innovation Research Day (Carle Illinois College of Medicine).
– We participated in the VentureWell E-Team Stage 1 program at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, taking away valuable insights into our economic value proposition and value chain.
– We finished our automated feature extraction software to automatically identify such features as wave amplitudes, wave integrals, segment lengths, and more (pictured below).

Next Month:
– We plan to leverage our automated feature extraction to build our K2 model, which we anticipate will have an AUC of 0.7+.
– We will begin setting up dedicated servers for model training and data manipulation in order to expedite technical development and solidify our research and development process.

Come check us out at the MATTER demo in downtown Chicago on May 16. We’d love to see you there!

Nephra – April Newsletter

Nephra – April Newsletter

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Can you believe it’s already April? It seemed like just yesterday we sat down to give our March newsletter update. Since then, Nephra has made remarkable progress on our four verticals: algorithm development, investment seeking, data procurement, and market strategy. Read more about this below!

– Nephra’s automated feature extraction software is in its final stages of development before testing. We are now able to algorithmically locate QRS complexes with 90%+ accuracy for both normal and abnormal ECGs. Take a look at the photo below to see how this works!
– Nephra is kicking off its first participation in the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign‘s annual pitch competition, Cozad, hosted by the Technology Entrepreneur Center.
– We were selected to participate in a competition with CVS/Lyfebulb in Austin, TX at the end of May.
– Nephra is putting finishing touches on our National Science Foundation (NSF)/NIH SBIR Grant Application. We hope to be a competitive applicant and attract funding to accelerate development.
– We finished our engagement with i-MADE, a consulting organization that has been extremely helpful in determining routes for data procurement. A special thanks to June Vanlerberghe for leading a great project.
– Nephra is also wrapping up its consulting engagement with Champaign Urbana Business and Engineering (CUBE) Consulting, which has offered a helpful hand in navigating IP laws and to-market strategies. A special thanks to Jason Jung for the amazing work on that front.

Next Month:
– We have continued interest in speaking with ECG hardware manufacturers.
– Our technical development focus will shift from feature extraction to model development. We will continue to train and tune our RNN-LSTM model that classifies and estimates [K+] levels.

– Nephra would love to speak with an electrophysiologist to determine the best ways to work around edge-cases and to learn more about ECG interpretation.
– We are also seeking contacts with experience in ECG classification.

Come check us out at the 20th Annual Health Innovation Research Day – Carle Illinois College of Medicine this week!
Also come stop by our booth at the Engineering Open House Booth, hosted by the The Grainger College of Engineering, on April 8th!

We’d love to see you there!

Nephra Named a Finalist for the 2022 Innovation Challenge in Kidney Disease by Lyfebulb and CVS Kidney Care

Champaign, IL (March 15, 2022) – Nephra has been announced as a finalist for the 2022 Innovation Challenge: Accelerating Innovations in Kidney Disease to Improve Health Equity and Outcomes by the teams at Lyfebulb and CVS Kidney Care®, a CVS Health® (NYSE:CVS) company.

Nephra is one of 11 companies that will present their concept to improve kidney health to a panel of esteemed judges on May 19, 2022, for a chance to be awarded $25,000 to further their work.

“We are thrilled to be participating in the 2022 Innovation Challenge in Kidney Disease by Lyfebulb and CVS Kidney Care,” remarks Nephra’s chief operating officer, Samuel Schapiro. “We will use this opportunity to accelerate the next stage of our development, which involves partnering with an ECG hardware manufacturing company and continuing to build a network of machine learning experts.” 

Nephra is developing a non-invasive, personalized, and quantitative means to monitor potassium levels remotely with machine learning. Their preliminary model, titled K1, has achieved 80% classification accuracy in distinguishing between normal and abnormal levels of potassium. K1 is also able to estimate potassium levels within 0.7 mmol/L.

The finalists, co-selected by the Lyfebulb and CVS Kidney Care teams, brought forward an array of strategic, creative, and scalable concepts to make kidney care more understandable, accessible, and equitable. The potential impact on patients and their care partners as well as the feasibility and sustainability of innovations in the market were considerations in the selection of the finalists.

“Treatment options for those with advanced stages of chronic kidney disease haven’t changed in decades and the ideas brought forward as a result of this challenge are energizing,” said Jesse Roach, MD, Senior Medical Director, Health Equity at CVS Kidney Care. “We applaud the finalists for their efforts to combat kidney disease, and we look forward to partnering with the winner to improve kidney health for everyone.”

To learn more about Nephra, visit, and to learn more about the Lyfebulb-CVS Kidney Care Innovation Challenge, visit

About CVS Kidney Care

CVS Kidney Care is reimagining the future of kidney health because patients deserve care that helps them live on their own terms. Our unmatched patient insights, grounded in CVS Health’s connectivity, link data and clinical knowledge to create a personalized approach that breaks down barriers to care, including systemic barriers that have led to disparities in kidney health. Our end-to-end approach is flexible and customizable to help support a truly patient-centered experience. No matter where people are in their kidney health journey, we help them connect to an integrated network of options that make care easier to understand, more accessible, and suited to their needs.

We are changing kidney disease as we know it because the more than 37 million Americans living with chronic kidney disease deserve more than 20th century solutions. Learn more at

Nephra – March Newsletter

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Nephra has continued to demonstrate why it is one of the most disruptive startups in the nation with its latest research and development efforts. Recent technical advancements have been extremely promising, achieving accuracies that put us on a path towards rapid FDA approval.

We also advanced to the semi-finals of the College New Venture Challenge at the University of Chicago and pitched at TigerLaunch, a Princeton Startup Competition.


  • Created a machine learning model that can classify abnormal levels of [K+] with 80% testing and 60% validation accuracy.
  • This same model can also estimate [K+] levels within 0.7 mmol/L. 
  • Engineered proprietary software to label ECGs and calculate relevant features like wave areas, wave slopes, wave durations, and more.
  • Piloted software that automatically locates R peaks in ECG waveforms through a calculus-driven approach.

Next Month: 

  • Aiming to form partnerships with ECG hardware manufacturers.
  • Targeting SBIR grant application for funding to accelerate development.
  • Seeking regulatory advisor to guide the FDA approval process.
  • Aiming for improved classification accuracy using our new software.
  • Looking forward to competing in Cozad!


  • If you know any contacts at ECG hardware manufacturing companies, we would love to connect with them.
  • We are also seeking contacts with experience in FDA approval for medical devices.
  • We are also seeking contacts with experience in ECG classification.

National Science Foundation Midwest i-Corps Program

After a successful run at the Illinois i-Corps program, Nephra has been selected into 2021’s cohort of the Midwest i-Corps program, focused solely on medical startups. This program is run out of the University of Michigan.

The program is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and concentrates industry experts to aid in customer discovery and accelerate the development of startups in the Midwest.

UChicago x Grainger College New Venture Challenge Round II

Nephra is thrilled to announce we have advanced into stage two of the College New Venture Challenge student accelerator program, a joint initiative between The University of Chicago and The Grainger College of Engineering.

We are excited to continue to explore the Chicago innovation ecosystem and meet like-minded individuals with a passion for change over the next semester.

Top 14 Most Disruptive Business School Startups of 2021

Nephra is honored to represent the Gies College of Business and the iVenture Accelerator as one of the national Poets&Quants 14 most disruptive business school startups of 2021.

Read more here: