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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Smart Phones on the Front Line of Medicine

UK startup Your.MD raises $5M for symptom checker app


(from Mobile Health News)

London-based Your.MD, which has developed a health management app that includes a symptom checker, raised $5 million in a round led by Smedvig Capital, with participation from existing angel investors. This brings the company’s total funding to $7.3 million.

The app, available on iOS and Android devices, allows users to explain what their complaints are to the app via voice or text. Next, users enter additional symptoms and other personal information, like their ages and genders. Your.MD will then ask the user up to three follow-up questions to improve the accuracy of the results.

After collecting this data, the app provides the user with information on up to five conditions or illnesses that best match their symptoms and personal profile. Your.MD is also able to sync user data from Apple’s HealthKit platform and Samsung’s S Health platform. Users can set up multiple profiles for each of their family members.

The company will use the new funds to develop an updated version of its app, which will use machine-learning technology to improve the questions it asks users when collecting data about their condition.

While the company has not monetized the app yet, Your.MD CEO Matteo Berlucchi told MobiHealthNews the company plans to eventually add a marketplace offering to the app.

“We plan to make money on secondary services,” he said. “The primary service is this guidance and advice on what might be wrong with you and how to deal with it. And then it will offer users other services that are complementary to what we do. [This] could be things like, ‘Hey do you want to talk to a real doctor? Here’s a bunch of services you can use’ or ‘Hey, would you like to buy a wearable devices, because you have a condition that may benefit from monitoring your blood pressure’. It’ll work like a marketplace model or an advertising model.”

Your.MD is primarily focused on emerging markets for both cultural and geographic reasons.

“We are a European company, we are based in Europe and so for us to go to the US, India, the Middle East, or China, it’s the same effort,” he said. “And we feel more comfortable because of our culture and heritage to look east instead of west. If you think about it, the type of application we are developing, the highest benefit would be for people who have the worst health services, so you know China, India, these places. We think we can benefit more people than in the US.”

Last year the company announced that it planned to bring Your.MD to market in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

While similar services exist, Your.MD’s biggest competitor is, arguably, Google. In fact, a recent survey of more than 1,500 teenagers in the US found that a majority of teenagers go online to look for health information, though considerably fewer use digital health tools or wearables. And Google is also actively improving its search functionality — in February, Google announced that by better leveraging its Knowledge Graph smart search algorithm, health searches on Google and via the Google app will start displaying a wide range of medical facts about the disease or condition in question.

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