Thursday, March 20, 2008

MedApps goes for the Gold (Medal)

This week an unknown company won the business plan competition Mobile Rules in San Jose. Next summer the company will take the pulse of the Olympics in Beijing, China. MedApps, of Scottsdale, Arizona-based company, is launching with style.

The idea behind the Mobile Rules competition is to find new innovative mobile solutions for consumers made by start-up or medium-size companies. There were almost 150 applications to all the categories.

MedApps sells a system that monitors a patient's health by collecting, analyzing and sending data to the health care providers. The system, for example, sends information of the glucose level and blood pressure to the doctor and stores the data to the patient's file. The health-care professionals can monitor the patient's health and react to the problems as they occur.
It's mainly for people suffering from chronic diseases like diabetes, but it also looks for customers with good health to prevent the diseases.

"People need to have their health record with them especially nowadays when people move from one doctor to another," says Kent Dicks, the President and CEO of MedApps.

The system requires a small, blue plastic device that will be sold through drugstores in the next three to four months. The patient's data is sent from the device via Bluetooth to his or her cell phone. The phone sends the data to a central server that the doctor can access.

Mr. Dicks says that the prize will be 120-400 dollars depending how sophisticated system the patient wants to have. There will be also a monthly fee for the service, probably some tens of dollars.

In future, MedApps would like to offer its service through any mobile phone. The information will be stored on the phone's memory card.

The system also takes care of the patient's health by speaking, in one of many languages, such phrases as, "Did you exercise today?" or "Have you taken your medication?"

Mr. Dicks says that the system can also help to prevent chronic diseases by, for example, pushing the customer to exercise.

This summer, 50 athletes on the U.S. Olympic team are expected to use MedApps devices to monitor certain body functions. This device already has received FDA-approval.

On Wednesday, MedApps won the category for the best business plan in the annual Mobile Rules competition organized by Nokia and FinNode, the Finnish innovation center in Santa Clara.

The founder of the competition and the director of the FinNode, Pekka Parnanen, said that the judges were impressed by MeApps' strong and experienced management team.

"They had a clear vision of the market and what the customers need," Parnanen says.

MedApps has been financed by an angel investor in Luxembourg. The company, which received an initial investment of $1 million, said it wants to raise an additional $8 million to $10 million later this year.

In the another category in the Mobil Rules competition -- the award for the best multimedia mobile application -- was won by a company that makes a music player that tailors its play lists to specific users. The Social Player -- from MyStrands Inc. of Corvalis, Oregon -- recognizes the type of music preferred by its owner, and then tries to anticipate and supply other music the person might enjoy.

“There is so much content today, people need tools to discover the things they like,” says VJesus Pindado, Vice President of Business Solutions for MyStrands. "The product itself isn't revolutionary but the technology behind it is.”

According to Pindado, MyStrands hopes to gain recognition, new contacts and new distribution channels as a result of winning the competition.

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