Noom raises $1M more for chronic disease coaching app

By: Aditi Pai | Apr 1, 2015        

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Noom HealthNew York-based wellness app maker Noom has raised another $1.1 million to complete a $16.1 million round led by InterVest, a Korea-based venture capital firm, with participation from LB Investment, Hanmi IT (a subsidiary of Hanmi Pharmaceutical), RRE Ventures, TransLink Capital, and Qualcomm Ventures.

The first $15 million of the round was noticed in an SEC filing posted in early January. This additional $1.1 million brings the company’s total funding to at least $25.7 million.

Pharma company and strategic investor Hanmi plans to work with Noom to develop a program that pairs Noom Health, Noom’s B2B behavior change program, with the company’s pharmaceuticals.

Noom CEO Saeju Jeong told MobiHealthNews that Noom Health, which aims to help providers manage patients with chronic diseases, combines automated interventions and human interventions to help patients improve their health. Jeong said that offering includes best practices learned from their direct to consumer apps, but those features were improved upon in Noom Health.

For example, in Noom Coach Pro, the paid version of Noom’s consumer weight loss app, users can join virtual groups led by a facilitator to help users lose weight. In Noom Health, the company replaced these facilitators with doctors and nurses who work in the backend to communicate with patients through a dashboard when necessary. The provider communication was combined with the automated interventions that help providers understand which patients need they need to reach out to at what time. By combining the two features, Noom said one provider can reach 200 users.  Keep reading>>

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19 health and fitness Apple Watch apps that appear ready at launch

By: Aditi Pai | Mar 31, 2015        

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Nike Apple Watch appApple’s newest offering, the Apple Watch, is set to launch April 24th. When the watch launches in a few weeks, Apple will launch a new section in its app store specifically for Apple Watch apps.

The Apple Watch, which was announced September 2014, will track movement through a built-in accelerometer and heart rate through optical sensors in the back of the device. It will extrapolate further data from the GPS and WiFi radios on the user’s iPhone, which will be required to use some of the features of the device.

Leading up to the launch date, a number of companies have announced that they will be releasing versions of their apps for the Apple Watch timed with or soon after its launch. Some of these companies’ apps, including Nike+ Running, Strava, and a new Mayo Clinic app, are featured on Apple’s website, while others have announced their app launches independently.

Here are 19 health and fitness apps that will offer Apple Watch apps at launch (or soon after):  Keep reading>>

Smart cane, smart jump rope, and 3 other crowdfunding digital health projects

By: Jonah Comstock | Mar 31, 2015        

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Our last crowdfunding roundup had health-tracking body suits, bed covers and glow-in-the-dark headphones, as well as some more standard health monitoring devices. The last few weeks have been a little thinner on health projects, but there’s still plenty of hopefuls launching on Indiegogo and Kickstarter. Read on for a round up that includes smart jump ropes, smart canes, two wearable thermometers, and an app-connected home blood test kit.

Kenkodo

Kenkodo

German company Kenkodo is developing a platform consisting of a weekly blood test and a mobile app that will analyze the test and return insights and information about the user’s metabolism. The app will allow users to match up biofeedback from the blood tests with logged recordings of lifestyle habits like sleep, mood, diet, and energy level. Over time, users can use the data from Kenkodo to adjust their lifestyle.

As of now, the home test kit isn’t actually connected to the smartphone. Instead, users take the blood test it, mail it to the lab, and the lab uploads the results to the cloud, so users can view them on their app. The project is just shy of it’s goal of $53,700 (50,000 euro).

Keep reading>>

Spruce raises $15M for app that connects consumers to dermatologists asynchronously

By: Aditi Pai | Mar 31, 2015        

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SpruceSan Francisco-based direct-to-consumer remote dermatology care service Spruce has raised $15 million from Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers, Google Ventures, Baseline Ventures, and Cowboy Ventures. This brings the company’s total funding to $17 million to date. Spruce offers consumers an app that helps them get treatment for some skin problems without having to interact with a physician in-person or even in real-time.

“Our mission is to build a better way to see the doctor,” Spruce CEO Ray Bradford told MobiHealthNews. “By that we mean that we don’t just want to be a convenient thing, we don’t just want to be a communication channel and a doctor network. We really want to understand, uniquely, per condition, how care gets provided and try to improve upon the visit experience for patients and doctors.”

In order to do this, Bradford explained that instead of immediately offering treatment for many conditions, when the app launched in September, it only supported acne consultations. Today, the company is also announcing that it’s expanding into treatment for various dermatology conditions including rashes, bites and stings, eczema, psoriasis, anti-aging, and male hair loss. The company built specialized programs for each new condition they added to the app.

“It’s a very similar approach to acne, where for each condition there is a clinical framework that our medial director and dermatologist advisor network has built to uniquely understand that condition.” Bradford said. “It is everything from the questions you get asked, to the resource guides you get when you’re diagnosed, to the tips and advice for prescriptions commonly associated with that condition. It’s a comprehensive clinical framework for each of those underlying conditions.”  Keep reading>>

Fitbit spent at least $17.8M to acquire FitStar

By: Aditi Pai | Mar 31, 2015        

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FitStarSan Francisco-based Fitbit acquired fitness coaching app developer, FitStar, for at least $17.8 million, according to an SEC filing.

FitStar had previously raised $5 million from Advancit Capital, Google Ventures, Trinity Ventures, Floodgate, and Mesa Ventures, according to CrunchBase.

In the filing, Fitbit selected “yes”, when asked “Is this offering being made in connection with a business combination transaction, such as a merger, acquisition or exchange offer?”. VentureBeat later received confirmation from a Fitbit spokeswoman that this filing was related to the FitStar acquisition, but she did not confirm whether the amount listed was the entire price of the acquisition.

Previous reports suggested that the deal was between $25 million to $40 million and included a mix of cash and stock.

Fitbit, which sells a variety of activity tracking devices, confirmed that it had acquired FitStar earlier this month.

FitStar offers two apps, FitStar Personal Trainer and FitStar Yoga. Both applications are free to download and use but most of the features require an in-app paid subscription. The apps provide users with workout training videos. They also track the user’s progress and help them reach fitness milestones. FitStar’s apps already sync with Fitbit as well as other activity tracking apps and devices including Jawbone and MyFitnessPal.

At the time of the acquisition, FitStar said in a statement that with the addition of FitStar’s personalized streaming video workouts to Fitbit’s offering, “users will find even more motivation through individually customized workout sessions”.

Fitbit’s devices are available in more than 30,000 North American retail stores and 45,000 stores around the globe — the products are sold in 54 countries. Fitbit users are primarily based in the US, followed by UK, Canada, Australia, Brazil, and China. At the time of the acquisition, FitStar’s app had logged more than 3 million downloads.

Mount Sinai, LifeMap launch COPD app, smart inhaler pilot

By: Jonah Comstock | Mar 31, 2015        

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LifeMap COPDLifeMap Solutions, the San Jose, California-based company that recently collaborated with Apple on one of the flagship apps for Apple ResearchKit, has launched a new pilot with Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. LifeMap will team up with Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine and the National Jewish Health Respiratory Institute (NJHRI) to develop a COPD platform that includes both a mobile app and, down the road, a smart inhaler.

“At the core, you’ve got the patient-facing app, a COPD navigator,” LifeMap CEO Corey Bridges told MobiHealthNews. “That’ll be given by doctors to patients and it’ll be configured and deployed during our pilot program, always with the doctor oversight. And that’s what we think of as our first step of making good on the promise of the mHealth revolution, which is basically bringing engaging tools into the hands of patients to help with self-management of whatever condition they have.”

The app will allow patients to track symptoms, medication, treatment adherence, and quality of life. It will also provide educational content from NJHRI and real-time alerts about the weather and air quality. As the pilot program continues, LifeMap will also begin testing two other elements of the program: a smart inhaler sensor and a clinician dashboard. The Bluetooth-enabled inhaler sensor, Bridges mentioned, integrates with Apple HealthKit and will be able to track usage of each of a patient’s inhalers. Keep reading>>