Nikhil Patel is the sort of founder who traders adore. He’s a brainiac who, earlier than learning pc science at Yale, spent three years in highschool working as a analysis affiliate on the College of Central Florida. “I began working there earlier than I might drive, and it was probably the most embarrassing factor to get dropped off by my mother on the workplace,” he says with fun.
Patel additionally has a private connection to the issue he’s making an attempt to resolve, that of making an attempt to diagnose and tackle Alzheimer’s illness as early as doable. Watching his grandmother lose floor to Alzheimer’s, and understanding, from a younger age, that an early analysis and intervention can delay the onset of dementia, he centered his analysis on constructing Alzheimer’s-related computerized diagnostics — which wasn’t simple to tug off as an adolescent. (He says he lastly discovered one professor who was keen to publish his findings below the auspices of the lab after greater than 100 others turned him down.)
Patel did get a wee bit distracted. After graduating from school, he logged time at a “couple of various hedge funds” and at Goldman Sachs the place he labored on buying and selling algorithms. However by early final yr, as one other relative was recognized with Alzheimer’s, he returned to his earlier work, founding Craniometrix, which is right this moment a three-person operation with sizable ambitions.
Thus far, the workforce has raised $6 million in seed funding for a HIPAA-compliant app that, in line with Patel, will help determine Alzheimer’s illness — even years earlier than signs seem — after simply 10 minutes of gameplay on a cellphone. It’s not purely a tech providing. Patel says the outcomes are given to an “precise doctor” affiliated with Craniometrix who “critiques, verifies, and indicators that diagnostic” and returns it again to a affected person.
However the firm’s backers — together with Quiet Capital, Defy.vc, Olive Tree Capital, Insurgent Fund, J Ventures, Cathexis Ventures and Y Combinator — and actually betting on Patel and his greater imaginative and prescient to create a one-stop, direct-to-consumer tele-medicine platform that not solely helps with early Alzheimer’s detection however that additionally offers ongoing help to sufferers and their caregivers.
It’s an idea that Neil Sequeira of Defy says he rallied round simply, given his agency’s curiosity in startups that use tech to enhance upon legacy healthcare companies. (Others of Defy’s bets embody a cloud-based lab administration startup known as Genemod and Apploi, a healthcare hiring platform.)
However Sequeira means that he may again something Patel labored on. The truth is, he says he met Patel by means of one other CEO whose stealth startup Defy has funded and who, when requested in regards to the smartest individual he has ever met, pointed to Patel.
Solely time will inform whether or not these smarts will efficiently bolster an enormous enterprise, however unsurprisingly, Patel already has a roadmap.
Whereas the 1st step facilities on people who find themselves involved about creating Alzheimer’s, wish to self-screen at house, and can obtain a doctor-reviewed diagnostic report from the corporate inside 48 hours, Craniometrix expects to quickly supply real-time physician entry to prospects who could have questions and considerations after receiving their report.
Craniometrix additionally plans to create bundled month-to-month subscriptions that can embody point-in-time screenings, entry to dwell physician help, and different instruments to deal with symptom administration and caregiver help.
It’s an enormous market, Patel argues. He asserts that caregivers right this moment spend $3,000 a yr out of pocket on the kinds of providers that Craniometrix will finally supply on-line. He additionally notes that whereas the direct-to-consumer market alone is an enormous alternative, he’s already having “attention-grabbing conversations” with well being plans about utilizing instruments like those who Craniometrix is creating to chop down on pointless affected person visits.
Says Patel, “quite a lot of right this moment’s visits might simply be served by a chat service or an offline communication service.”
In the end, Patel says, the concept is to get rid of the necessity to go to a medical workplace. However it’s additionally to “hold folks on higher footing” relating to managing the illness.
Contemplating that Alzheimer’s presently afflicts 6 million People alone and that these numbers are rising quick as the general inhabitants ages, the corporate might effectively be one to look at. Keep tuned.