Business & Real Estate

Rancho Cordova’s VSP Global investing in tech firm with Davis roots

Rancho Cordova-based VSP Global said Monday that it is making a $2 million investment in a locally founded startup to develop eye care technologies to track visual acuity, eye strain, traumatic brain injury and sports vision performance.

VSP said Vizzario Inc., a high-tech eye care firm started in 2014 in Davis and now headquartered in Los Angeles, operates a sensory data exchange software platform with data generated from technologies that include smart devices, eye-tracking tools, virtual reality and augmented reality via head-mounted displays.

VSP said Vizzario then uses analytics to help monitor and predict health trends through analysis of an individual’s data. Prospective applications include the ability to track the effects of digital eye strain over a period of time, or to screen for traumatic brain injury in contact sports such as football, by measuring key areas of eye-brain connection.

The long-term effects on the brains of football players who for years have sustained blows to the head have made national headlines. After death, various former National Football League players have been diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, linked to repeated head trauma.

Both companies said they expect to announce a consumer-related offering this year.

VSP said the partnership was fostered through an ongoing relationship with VSP Global’s multiple-site innovation lab, called The Shop, which has a midtown Sacramento location.

Founded in 2014, Vizzario is led by CEO Khizer Khaderi, who established the Sports Vision Lab at the University of California, Davis, and formerly served as the director of neuro-ophthalmology at the UC Davis Eye Center.

“We’re excited to partner with VSP Global and explore a number of meaningful pathways to bring Vizzario’s technology to life,” Khaderi said in a joint press release. “Vizzario is rooted in vision, but the platform is capable of taking in a number of other data sets that can start to enrich the understanding of a person’s lifestyle and habits.”

Both companies said they expect to announce a consumer-related offering later this year.

VSP spokeswoman Maryam Zarkesh Brown said VSP Global will consider an additional $1 million investment in Vizzario in June, based on progress.

Mark Glover: 916-321-1184, @markhglover