Adoption of telehealth services has increased in the pandemic, with usage increasing 38-fold since January 2020, according to a McKinsey report. While much of the focus has been on companies that are building the communications layer between consumers and physicians, there is also a wave of companies building devices to expand what can be monitored and addressed in a telehealth environment. .
In one of the latest developments, Bisu, a Tokyo-based healthcare startup that has built a lab-grade testing device that can be used at home for diagnostics that translates into actionable health data, has raised $ 3.2 millions. The seed round will be used to launch a portable home health lab, Bisu Body Coach, which provides personalized nutrition and lifestyle advice through easy and accurate urine and saliva testing. The seed funding brings its total raised to $ 4.3 million.
The latest funding was led by QUAD, with the participation of ASICS Ventures Corporation, 15th Rock Ventures, Pacifico Investments and SOSV. Sports shoe giant ASICS is a strategic sponsor, and plans to collaborate with Bisu on health and fitness services initiatives. Bisu is in talks with other companies in the fitness, pet grooming and bathing sectors for additional partnerships, co-founder and CEO Daniel Maggs told TechCrunch.
Bisu was founded in 2015 and started business in 2017 when it entered the HAX accelerator program.
Bisu Body Coach works around disposable test sticks and a reader that syncs with a smartphone app. The disposable test levers allow users to measure a variety of biomarkers in just two minutes, using “lab-on-a-chip” microfluidic technology.
Microfluidic “lab-on-a-chip” technology uses real-time end-to-end measurement and spectrometry to eliminate the measurement time problem of conventional test strips. It also manipulates a sample such as blood, urine, saliva, or sweat into a small channel to perform a chemical or biological process.
When asked about its differentiation from other competitors using lab-on-a-chip technology, Bisu said it focuses on simultaneous testing of multiple biomarkers that enables the user to understand and make a positive change in their diet and lifestyle without see a doctor. Others often detect highly important individual biomarkers, such as COVID-19 and influenza, which can guide the user to seek help from a physician.
The Bisu app provides feedback on key nutrition indicators such as hydration, minerals, vitamins, pH, uric acid, and ketones. Based on the users’ goals, preferences, activity, sleep, and weight, Bisu Body Coach provides personalized recommendations. Bisu plans to add zinc and vitamin B measurements in the future and hopes to launch a pet health test kit for cats and dogs.
Bisu Body Coach is currently in beta testing in the United States and the European Union. The company aims to commercialize it in these markets in 2022, Maggs said, adding that it is also laying the groundwork to enter Asian markets such as Japan and Korea in 2023.
Its core R&D and production team is based in Tokyo, and Bisu’s software and marketing team is based in the United States.
Maggs said the conventional home diagnostics market, dominated primarily by patients, is estimated at about $ 5 billion and growing.
But Bisu’s home test has a potential market with non-patients as well: people who are not under the care of doctors or others for anything specific, but who are interested in knowing more about what is happening inside their bodies. The patient-free home diagnostics market is currently estimated at around $ 10 billion, Maggs said.