Ginger.io Gets $6.5M, Led by Khosla, to “Open Up” Data-Driven Healthcare
Vinod Khosla has strong opinions on everything from education to energy storage. And he’ll speak his mind. On the topic of healthcare innovation, the bigwig entrepreneur and investor recently said that 80 percent of doctors could be replaced by machines.
So perhaps it’s no surprise that Khosla Ventures has just backed MIT health-tech startup Ginger.io, which has offices in both Cambridge, MA, and San Francisco, to the tune of a $6.5 million Series A round. Also participating in the financing are a couple of Ginger.io’s seed investors, True Ventures and Romulus Capital. That brings the company’s total raised to $8.2 million.
If there’s a startup that embodies “big data meets healthcare meets mobile,” Ginger.io would probably be it. The company’s analytics technology helps hospitals and caregivers manage patient populations and detect changes in behavior based on information from patients’ smartphones (via a downloadable app). The basic idea: when you’re sick, your communication and movement habits change.
“Ginger.io is at the forefront of data-driven technology and healthcare, with the potential to transform the way we manage chronic disease populations,” Khosla said in a statement.
Indeed, the company is riding a big wave of interest in improving the quality and efficiency of healthcare outside the walls of the clinic, through technologies like smartphone sensors, home monitoring, and remote presence and intervention.
“We think there’s an opportunity to open up the whole field,” says Anmol Madan, Ginger.io’s CEO and co-founder.
Over the past year, Ginger.io has been working with hospitals and clinics to get its product in the hands of real users, figure out what kinds of behavioral patterns are useful to nurses and caregivers, and get other feedback. In March, the company acquired Pipette, a San Francisco startup out of the Rock Health accelerator. In recent months, the team has been focusing on mental health (depression, bipolar disorder, Alzheimer’s), diabetes, congestive heart failure, Crohn’s disease, and inflammatory bowel disease.
The company has come to the “understanding that our customers are the chronic patient populations, not the ‘quantified self’ populations,” Madan says.
In addition, says Ginger.io co-founder Karan Singh, “there are patterns we didn’t expect that have emerged,” particularly in areas like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. “What we do with the data is some of the biggest learning we’ve had,” he says.
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