10 Mobile Health Startups Making You Feel Better
In 1983, the IBM PC XT debuted with 128K of RAM and a 10MB hard disk. In that same year, the first mobile phone debuted weighing about 2.5 pounds and with a $4,000 price tag. Fast forward to today and the average person unlocks their smartphone 76-80 times a day and relies on it for every aspect of their lives. These amazing pieces of hardware are millions of times more capable than all of NASA’s computing power in the 1960s. Now that we have a supercomputer that never leaves people’s sides, maybe it’s time that we do some more innovation and see how that device can be used for “mobile health“. Turns out that there are a whole slew of startups in this space as seen in the below market map put together by the amazing minds over at CB Insights:
The notion of telemedicine is one we’ve written about before in our article on 8 Telemedicine Startups to Watch – Half Use AI. Using your smartphone to engage with a health provider as opposed to physically transporting yourself to the doctor makes a whole lot of sense, especially when you start involving things like video and artificial intelligence. If the doctor believes your story, you may be eligible for medical marijuana. Our article on how to Invest in a Cool Cannabis Tech Startup talked about how startups like Eaze let you order weed to your front door for treating your glaucoma. Since we’ve already touched on the first two categories above, let’s look at some startups from the remaining ten.
Taking Care of the Kiddos
Founded in 2012, San Francisco startup Kinsa Health has taken in $29.17 million in 4 rounds of funding in an attempt to “revolutionize healthcare for families and communities” by creating the world’s first map of human health. Kinsa first came across our radar as one of 6 Startups Solving First World Problems with their FDA-approved smart thermometer that comes with an app that tells you more than the temperature for the small price of $29.99.
Of course, the app can do what any Google search would to give guidance after the temperature reading, it can remind you to take your meds, and there’s historical data which could be insightful, but it’s still just a fcuking thermometer people. The real value for this startup is in all that big data which they are accumulating. They see themselves as a communications layer for other companies within spaces of telemedicine, prescription delivery, and other healthcare startups. In addition to being available in 7,000 North American retail stores, they recently launched a Fluency program that allows schools to sign up for free Kinsa Thermometer kits for each family.
Helping the Chinese Reproduce
There’s the old debated “fact” that if the population of China walked past you in single file, the line would never end because of the rate of reproduction. That’s a good segue into our next startup which deals with Chinese reproductive health. Founded in 2013, Chinese femtech startup Meiyou has taken in $201 million in 5 rounds of funding to develop a menstrual cycle app that provides period prediction, female health analysis, and individualized tips.
As the app seeks to address more than just the menstrual cycle, Meiyou also has a pregnancy mode that offers customized services with regards to beauty, fitness and good health. Currently, it has also become a social network for all-things-ladylike with its “Her Circle” feature that provides a platform for women to share with each other. The app is free but it’s showing so much potential that it recently raised $151 million from a Series E round late last year. With additional plans to expand towards providing services for early-stage parenting and weight loss, the company has also reportedly been looking to IPO in the U.S. domestic stock exchange since last year.
Getting Kids off Hard Drugs
Founded in 2011, Boston Massachusetts startup Akili has taken in $72.9 million in several rounds of funding with participation from big names like Amgen and Merck. Akili develops clinically-validated cognitive therapeutics, assessments, and diagnostics made to look and feel like video games. Akili’s leading product, Project EVO, addresses treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD and is currently in the final stages of FDA approval and is expected to launch by the end of 2017.
We suppose video games are a better option than handing out hard drugs to kids like candy. Try giving a few of your kids Adderall pills sometimes and you’ll see what we mean.
Update 05/26/2021: Akili Interactive has raised $110 million in Series D funding to help commercialize EndeavorRx, its FDA-cleared prescription video game for ADHD, and develop new video game-based treatments for other cognitive disorders. This brings the company’s disclosed funding to around $301 million to date.
Big Isn’t Beautiful
In 2015, 9.4% of Americans had diabetes (about 30.3 million), according to the American Diabetes Association. Founded in 2011, San Francisco startup Omada Health has taken in $126.5 million in 6 rounds of funding from investors that include General Electric and French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi. Omada provides a digital platform that focuses on pre-diabetic patients who have not yet developed full-blown Type-2 diabetes. When we get down to brass tacks, the app is all about helping people lose weight so they lower their risks for various diseases as seen below:
The company’s visions seem to go beyond their users as Omada has reportedly enrolled more or less 100,000 patients to its CDC-recognized National Diabetes Prevention Program, published clinical validation studies and launched their own Clinical Advisory Board earlier this year. Omada’s latest round of funding in June raising $50 million came from Cigna, a global health insurance company looking to make Omada’s program available to Cigna’s customers with pre-diabetes condition.
Update 05/20/2020: Omada Health has raised $57 million and spent $30 million of it acquiring Physera, which specializes in virtual physical therapy. This brings the company’s total funding to $256.5 million to date.
Kicking the Cancer Sticks
Founded in 2004, Hayward startup Chrono Therapeutics has taken in $82.5 million in 5 rounds of funding from investors that include the Mayo Clinic, the National Cancer Institute, and (again) General Electric. Their “programmable passive transdermal drug delivery (TDD)” is like a smart nicotine patch that integrates with your smartphone so that you can get real-time behavioral support. Last year, they took in $47.6 million (with Kaiser Permanente as lead investor) to fund the FDA-approval of their wearable anti-smoking system that delivers nicotine in a patient’s system an hour before the users wake up to help stop the cravings which keep them smokers:
The FDA has already informed Chrono that their 10-week anti-smoking system will be regulated as a drug rather than a device to be sold as an over-the-counter product. If approved, the product is expected to be available for users in late 2018 or early 2019 for a price tag of around $500.
Doctor John in Mumbai
Founded in 2008, Indian startup Practo has taken in $179 million in 4 rounds of funding from investors such as Tencent Holdings and Sequoia Capital to develop a platform that helps consumers locate doctors and healthcare information in their network and access the right treatment more efficiently. According to their website, Practo caters to around 25 million patients a year with over 3 million patient recommendations to over 100,000 verified doctors. To cut the waiting time of the patients, the company provides online consultation with doctors wherein a patient can personally chat with a designated professional through their app.
They also offer a 24-hour guaranteed delivery time of over 130,000 medicines right at your front door. Patients who use the app will have all their medical records kept secure and accessible only by them and over 8000 centers to be accessed when needed by medical professionals.
Helping You Breathe Better
Founded in 2012, Cohero Health is a New York startup that has taken in $15.3 million in 5 rounds of funding to develop an FDA-approved, smartphone-connected spirometer that can track inhaler use, measure lung function, offer medication reminders and enable symptoms to be shared with doctors and family members. Here’s a look at some of the gear they have (which you may end up using if that anti-smoking platform from Chronos doesn’t work out for you):
Since their founding in 2012, the company now counts over 25 commercial deployments that cover over a million patients mainly suffering from asthma, COPD and cystic fibrosis. The company has also already gained support from Samsung NEXT and Omron Healthcare in their mission to improve respiratory care across the globe. They’re going up against a startup we covered before called Propeller Health which has taken in nearly $50 million so far.
Delivering Pill Packs to Your Door
Founded in 2013, Cambridge Massachusetts startup PillPack has taken in $117.8 million in 5 rounds of funding to develop a pharmacy of the future that aims to make medication management simple, efficient and accessible. Order through their online pharmacy and they’ll deliver personalized packets to your front door:
Other features include automated pill refill requests, reaching out to insurance companies for patients, and ensuring all prescriptions are on the right cycle. Pharmacists load the pills into an automated machine to be deposited into clear packs and print labels. From here on, a computer vision program trained to see pills by size, color, and shape will then verify if any errors were made in sorting the pills and if there are any, another pharmacist will then re-check the packets to correct any error. The company’s dispensers retail for $29 and they’re reportedly expecting $100 million in revenues this year. While the company’s indication to building physical pharmacies 2 years ago hasn’t materialized yet, their spokesperson said it’s still in their interest to “explore” in-person experiences.
Cardiac Care on the Go
Founded in 2010, AliveCor is a San Francisco based startup that has taken in $43.5 million in 3 rounds of funding from investors that include Khosla and Qualcomm Ventures to develop their Kardia device and a smartphone app for a personal, mobile and clinical-quality electrocardiograms. In the second quarter of this year, the company released Kardia Pro, dubbed the industry’s first AI-enabled platform that allows doctors monitor their patients in early detection of atrial fibrillation–the most common cardiac arrhythmia that can lead to greater risks of stroke.
The company’s FDA-cleared Kardia Mobile retails at $99 with a premium version that costs $9.99/mo or $99/year with a free 30-day trial. Perhaps the most valuable aspect of this offering is the big data that’s being accumulated. AliveCor’s devices gather millions of data points for research to prevent stroke and other cardiac diseases from people around the world.
Keeping Tabs on the Elderly
Founded in 2014, San Francisco based startup Honor has taken in $62 million in 2 rounds of funding from investors that include Jessica Alba and Andreessen Horowitz. The startup is focused on helping the elderly continue to live safely in their own homes as they age through their comprehensive home care program which matches certified professional caregivers for each patient’s specific needs. Of course, the app can be accessed by the patient’s family for monitoring, important notifications and more. The home health industry is said to be fragmented into around 2.5 million home care workers managed by about 12,400 home health agencies, and this app now provides a way to differentiate providers based on reviews.
There you have it lovely readers, 10 mobile health startups making you feel better.
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