First published by Biz Journals on Sept 3, 2020.

Neopenda, a Chicago startup that makes neonatal vitals monitors for babies in developing countries, just landed some new funding from a Colorado impact fund.

The startup was one of five startups that shared a $825,000 investment from Boulder-based Next Wave Impact through its inaugural Founder of Color Showcase. It’s unclear exactly how much funding Neopenda took home.

Other startups that received funding include food industry data service Agtools, incarceration connection tech platform company Flikshop, IOT building software company BlocPower, and EdTech software company LiftEd.

Next Wave’s syndicate of investors includes Queen City Angels, Pipeline Angels, Next Wave Impact, Social Venture Circle and Kachuwa Impact Fund.

“By mobilizing more women and people of color as investors, we are working to create a more diverse and inclusive ecosystem,” said Alicia Robb, the founder of Next Wave Impact Fund and lead of the Founders of Color Showcase, in a statement. “The goal of the Showcase was to highlight a pipeline of scalable companies being led by founders of color and move the needle on the amount of capital going to these underserved entrepreneurs.”

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Neopenda’s devices are powered by rechargeable, low-powered batteries, and their wireless function makes them ideal in areas without consistent access to electricity.

The five winning startups were chosen from 10 finalists and 10 semi-finalists, which were picked from more than 100 applicants. All 20 finalists earned a spot in Next Wave Impact’s six-month scale program, which has tailored webinars hosted by experts in the fields of law, HR, finance and more.

Founded by Sona Shah and Teresa Cauvel in 2015, Neopenda’s device continuously measures four different vital signs, including pulse rate, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation and temperature. The device then sends vitals data wirelessly over Bluetooth to a tablet that a nurse can monitor and be alerted by if a baby is in distress.

To help address challenges associated with the Covid-19 crisis, Neopenda began repurposing its device for adults suffering from the virus. The adult sensor measures for all of the same vitals as the original device but is designed for bigger patients.

Last year, Neopenda raised $1.04 million from New York-based Axel Johnson Inc. and SUNU Capital, an African-based venture capital firm. The startup was also in the 2018 cohort of Techstars Chicago, the annual accelerator that provides mentoring and resources to early-stage startups.