CancerIQ raises $4.8M for its early cancer detection platform


CancerIQ, a Chicago startup that helps health care providers identify patients who have a genetic predisposition to certain cancers, announced $4.8 million in new funding this week.

The Series A round was led by HealthX Ventures, a VC firm led by Mark Bakken, the founder of Nordic Consulting. Other backers include Chicago-based Impact Engine and Lightbank.

The funding is significant in that it not only will help fuel CancerIQ’s growth, but it’s also one of the largest rounds raised by a Black founder in Chicago in recent memory. Led by Feyi Olopade Ayodele, CancerIQ has now raised more than $8 million since it launched in 2013.

Overall, only 1% of venture capital goes to Black founders and just 0.2% goes to Black women. Chicago Inno reported in June that just nine active Black-founded startups in Chicago have raised $1 million or more.

“Investors naturally invest based on pattern recognition,” Ayodele told Chicago Inno in June. “And one data point that’s missing from that pattern is a pattern of Black women being successful CEOs and leaders of venture-backed companies. As a Black woman, I realized I was already going to be behind.”

Ayodele founded CancerIQ while working at the University of Chicago, and the startup participated in UChicago’s New Venture Challenge in 2013. The company’s technology helps physicians identify and manage their patients based on individual genetic risk factors for cancer. CancerIQ created a risk assessment questionnaire that patients can complete in the waiting room that can identify patients who are at high-risk for certain cancers.

The startup’s customers include the University of Illinois Cancer Center, Adventist Health and OSF Healthcare.

“CancerIQ’s platform has the power to make genetic data part of routine care, which is game- changing,” Bakken said in a statement. “We chose to invest because we see the value the CancerIQ platform can not only bring to patients, but to multiple stakeholders in healthcare ecosystem.”

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