A Q&A with MediSafe co-founder Omri ‘Bob’ Shor. The Nofit, Israel–based company was founded in 2012 and launched to the public in November.
SUB: Please describe MediSafe and your value proposition.
Shor: MediSafe Project is a medication relationship management system. MediSafe’s mobile app, which launched in November 2012, uses cloud-synced technology to help families prevent emergencies caused by over-dosing or missing medications. In addition to reminding users when it’s time to take their medication, MediSafe Project is the only mobile app to send alerts to selected family members, friends and caretakers when a loved one misses a dose, leveraging the power of people’s support systems to keep them healthier.
MediSafe Project aims to provide value to users and their families by means of medication monitoring and scheduling. Providing this service to users and their families has the potential to lower hospitalization and mortality rates, prolong health through sustainable behavior changes, decrease long-term healthcare costs and help pharmaceutical companies understand patients’ barriers to medication compliance.
Pharmaceutical companies are able to access anonymous demographics, geo-location and patient behaviors to physician trends and other market aspects. MediSafe Project’s broad analytics can help pharmaceutical companies better understand how people receive and take their medication.
SUB: Who are your target markets and users?
Shor: MediSafe Project targets any person who takes a daily medication, families with elderly loved ones who may not always remember to take their medication, mothers who want a better way to keep track of each of their children’s different medications, and major players in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries that are interested in receiving our anonymous, aggregated user data to better understand who their customers are and exactly how they are taking their medication.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Shor: There are a number of adherence solutions, ranging from hardware to medication reminder apps, so it was important for us to combine an easy-to-use interface with social connectivity and a B2B solution to help differentiate MediSafe Project. Some major competitors of MediSafe Project are Pillboxie, iPharmacy, Mango Health and Health Prize.
SUB: What differentiates MediSafe from the competition?
Shor: After graduating from the first ever class of the Microsoft Accelerator for Windows Azure, we learned about cloud technology. By implementing a cloud-based solution, MediSafe Project has become the first ever cloud-synced medication reminder app aimed at helping families prevent emergencies caused by medication non-compliance.
MediSafe offers a user interface that is unique and easy to use as well as vital, and holds big data implications for pharmaceutical companies—providing them anonymous patient demographics, geo-location and behaviors, physician trends and other market aspects.
SUB: When was the company founded and what were the first steps you took in establishing it?
Shor: The company has been active since May 2012, and was officially founded in August 2012. One of the first steps we took toward creating MediSafe was participating in the Microsoft Accelerator for Windows Azure program in May. It is a four month intensive program for eleven startups developing in the cloud. During this program, we received many services, including a development kit, mentorship from top entrepreneurs and investors, technical training and support as well the opportunity to present to Angel investors, VCs and media. We also had the honor of being selected as Microsoft’s BizSpark Startup of the Day in December, 2012.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for MediSafe? Was there an ‘aha’ moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
Shor: My brother Rotem and I were inspired to create MediSafe Project after our diabetic father accidentally took a double-dose of his insulin. He is fine now, and is a daily MediSafe user. However, avoidable hospitalization due to medication non-adherence is a major problem in the U.S. that leads to an American dying every 19 minutes, and costs U.S. hospitals $100 billion every year. My hope is that ripple effects from people using MediSafe Project will combat both these aspects.
SUB: How did you come up with the name? What is the story behind it?
Shor: We love names that have a meaning, and it’s important to us that when people see MediSafe Project, they understand what we’re doing. ‘Medi,’ the first part, was fairly simple. Then, we thought the second part should be app—resulting in MediApp, but that would have limited our company to the application, and we have a much wider vision that includes a web version, an automated phone feature for users without smartphones, as well as several other revolutionary features. Keeping families safe through medication adherence is our focus, so my CTO suggested ‘MediSafety’ which we eventually shortened to MediSafe. We love it!
SUB: What have the most significant obstacles been so far to building the company?
Shor: Strategically speaking, a significant obstacle we faced was how to differentiate what we’re doing from dozens of similar apps out there. We eventually developed a more comprehensive solution—a differentiated user experience is only part of it.
SUB: You recently (November) launched to the public. Why was this a particularly good time to raise money?
Shor: When we started the company, we decided to bring the product to market before raising any money. It was important for us to have a working product with initial traction to give us a better starting point in terms of valuation.
SUB: How does the company generate revenue or plan to generate revenue?
Shor: MediSafe Project generates revenue through various partnerships with pharmaceutical companies and pharmacies to help create an ecosystem that supports medication adherence. We are currently discussing the idea of co-branding or sponsoring MediSafe Project with a number of companies, as well as white-labeling our app under their brands.
SUB: What are your goals for MediSafe over the next year or so?
Shor: These are very exciting times for MediSafe Project. Business wise, we are working hard to finalize collaborations with major pharmaceutical companies and pharmacy chains. Product wise, we are working to expand our offering to web, mobile, tablets, Windows 8 and hardware, as well as adding some major new features to make the MediSafe app even better. We plan to implement a new ‘patient adherence progress report’ feature that will debut on Android in a few weeks. It will come with an email option that will use cloud capabilities to attach a user’s medication list in PDF format to the email. In the upcoming weeks, we also plan to finalize our refill reminder feature.
MediSafe – www.medisafeproject.com