Sramana Mitra: Talk about your portfolio. What have you invested in? As you take us through some of these examples, talk about why you chose to invest in those. We got the woman founder part of it. Beyond that, give us a sense of how you think about deals.
Kerry Rupp: We’re in three companies. The fund will expect to invest in 10 to 12. All three of them are in the health sector. The first is a smart watch for seniors. It’s called UnaliWear. It essentially helps with things like guards against wandering and medication reminders. One of the things that’s particularly unique about this product is, it varies its target specifically to the lifestyle and the physical health of the seniors. The font is black and white in really large font size for macular degeneration.
All of the interaction with the watch is through voice. They don’t have to push buttons and learn how to navigate a smartphone. They’re talking to it. It even has Bluetooth to connect to hearing aids if the person is incapacitated in that way. The batteries for the watch are on the watch band so they can be easily replaced. What that enables is actually wearing the watch 24/7 and just swapping out the batteries rather than having to take the watch off and charging it overnight. It’s really specific to the needs of the seniors.
The founder is a caretaker for her elder mother. She needed something for her mother and had to understand what her mother was willing to wear versus putting it in the drawer. The founder, herself, had sold two companies. She’s a serial entrepreneur. Those were both hardware companies. One was sold to Apple. One was sold to TI. It’s also important that we know she has the ability to execute and build these companies, and has the relationships to manufacture the product.
A big part of this investment was her expertise and track record and her understanding of this market. All senior care in this country is done by adult daughters and adult daughters-in-law. She and her mother are the target market. It brings a lot of insight into the product design and the go-to market strategy.
The second company is called BrainCheck. It is a cognitive testing platform for brain health. You can do it on your iPhone or tablet. These are cognitive tests that traditionally were given in pen-and-paper in the neuropsychologist’s office. They only got to people who were already severely cognitively impaired.
By making this available on your smartphone, it basically democratizes access to it. We’re starting to get a broader baseline of data around brain health. The platform can be used for all cognitive conditions. In fact, the company started in concussions for sports where you could easily baseline all the athletes before the season. If they were hit on the field, they could quickly do the test on their phone and see if they were impaired. Maybe their parents can follow their progress over time.
While that was heavily adopted by schools and teams – they got about 40,000 users so far – where the opportunity became clear over time as the device was cleared by the FDA as a medical device. There’s a lot happening in the dementia and memory space. Once again in the senior care space, market dynamics has shifted such that the clinical guidelines tell doctors that they should use a quantitative benchmark to assess a senior’s memory.
There are clinical guidelines advising doctors to really get proactive around this. There are studies that now show that early intervention and lifestyle changes can have lifestyle benefits and result in cost savings to the health ecosystem. That’s the second company that really has the consumer-facing element or you can engage with your clinician as needed.