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Behavioral App Developer Lands $20 Million in Venture Funds

Ginger.io screen

Ginger.io screen (play.google.com)

13 January 2015. Ginger.io, a company in San Francisco developing smartphone apps for monitoring mental state and wellness, raised $20 million in its second venture financing cycle. The new funding was led by first-round investors Khosla Ventures and True Ventures, with participation by undisclosed new investors.

Ginger.io, a spin-off from human dynamics research at MIT’s Media Lab, focuses on the behavioral side of wellness with a smartphone app that collects data about the individual’s physical and mental condition for monitoring by health care providers and care givers. The company says it aims to fill a need in the health care that emphasizes physical ailments and pharmaceuticals, over mental well-being.

The Ginger.io app, in iPhone and Android versions, records interaction activity through the patients’ calling and texting activity, combined with their location, determined by the phones’ GPS functions. These passive data are supplementedby responses to surveys completed by patients, and uploaded periodically Ginger.io servers.

Data from the patient are analyzed with machine-learning routines for patterns that could impact the individual’s health or well-being. If the patterns indicate a negative trend, health care providers and care givers are notified so they can address the problem in its early stages, when interventions are often easier and less intrusive.

In December 2014, Ginger.io began a joint project with public health authorities in Utah to improve care for low-income patients with mental illnesses as well as chronic diseases. In this program, health care providers in Utah collect data from patients with Ginger.io apps to help improve communications and identify problems before they reach crisis stages.

Ginger.io takes part as well in research collaborations that aim to better understand the relationship between mental state and chronic disease conditions. The company says it now works with half of the top 10 academic medical centers in the U.S., including University of California in San Francisco, Partners Health Care in Boston, Duke University, and University of California in Davis.

With the new funding, Ginger.io says it raised a total of $28 million since its founding in 2010. The company plans to use the new proceeds for scaling up its commercial business and hiring data scientists, application engineers, health care experts, and user experience designers.

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Hat tip: MedCity News

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