This is a very cool story of an intelligent thermometer with far-reaching consequences. Absolutely fascinating!
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing our audience to yourself as well as to Kinsa.
Inder Singh: I am the Founder and CEO of Kinsa. I started the company about five years ago. Kinsa has reimagined the thermometer, which is the first product parents turn to when a child falls ill. We’ve turned it into a health support system. We’ve done that for a much bigger reason. Our mission is to help curb the spread of an illness by understanding where and when it starts and helping to respond to it early.
For a parent, we help provide coaching in those stressful moments by supporting early access to medicine and care hoping that it’d result in reducing the spread of an illness. The information we collect from all of our users also allows us to understand where and when an illness is spreading. We believe we are the first system that truly has the ground knowledge of where and when the illness is spreading so we can help the system, individuals, and communities.
Sramana Mitra: How? Let’s double-click down one level and talk to me about how you do it.
Inder Singh: We started the company with this grand vision of creating this mapof human health. My background is in software. For the better part of my adult life, I’ve worked on these large-scale public health programs around how you stop the spread of infectious diseases.
Most recently, I had the honor of working with former President Clinton. I was Executive Vice President of Clinton Health Access initiative. It was an awesome job. I negotiated the deal, which dropped the price of drugs for AIDS, TB, and malaria for 72 countries. I’m really proud of that work. That’s where I come from.
The mission of Kinsa was rooted in my experience in public health. When we started the company, we thought to ourselves, “If we just knew where and when an illness is spreading, individuals and communities could intervene and hopefully curb its spread so we don’t have these large-scale problems whether it’s pandemic flu or ebola.” The world spends so much money trying to curb the spread of illness. That was the thesis.
I believe the single biggest problem in healthcare that we have a shot at addressing in our lifetime is the significant curbing of the spread of illness. I believe it starts with information about when and where it starts. When we started the company, we thought to ourselves, “How can we begin communicating with someone who has just fallen ill? How can we, as a byproduct of supporting them, gather information on early indicators?”
To do that, we thought, “Let’s try to piggyback off of existing behaviors.” What is the first thing that someone does when they fall ill? For most people and certainly for parents whose children happen to be primary spreaders of illness, it happens to be reaching for the thermometer. That’s the first thing that a parent often does after comforting the child and putting the back of their hand on their forehead. We wanted to piggyback on that behavior and turn the thermometer into a communication device. We spent the first three or four years of our journey building a product that was better, cheaper, smarter, and could help coach you.