With blood-testing unicorpse Theranos still in the news for its spectacular flame-out, skepticism of consumer-facing diagnostics startups is abundant. A startup that recently moved to Austin aims to improve wellness tests not with new technology, but with home delivery and explanations in plain English.
The startup, EverlyWell, is trying to fill a gap in med tech between genetic testing from companies such as 23andMe and telemedicine. The company says it offers easy-to-understand analysis for eight types of tests: Women’s fertility, food sensitivity, heavy metals in the bloodstream, metabolism, thyroid levels, sleep and stress levels, inflammation and vitamin D and cholesterol and lipids. The tests take about 10 days overall and a priced between $79 and $399, sometimes undercutting traditional lab tests after insurance plans pitch in.
Consumers get a kit and, depending on which test they buy, submit saliva, urine or blood samples that are sent to certified labs for testing. The results are available online with simple explanations of what the data mean and likely solutions.
Julia Cheek, a former executive at MoneyGram International, founded EverlyWell in Dallas in 2013. The company moved to Austin earlier this year and launched a beta product in May. On Monday, the company revealed its consumer product at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco. And it may expand to test sexually transmitted diseases and male fertility.
“Our vision is much larger,” she said during her pitch. “In the same way that consumer-ordered pregnancy test, HIV and DNA tests have gone from nonexistent to ubiquitous, so too should health and wellness testing.”
Here’s the pitch:
Cheek didn’t mention Theranos in her pitch, but she did talk about her relationship with government regulators. “I could speak at length here on regulatory compliance,” she said, “but I will say this: We are compliant in the 46 states where we operate with direct to consumer test regulations and all of our labs are fully CLIA certified and have conducted thousands and thousands of tests.”
The startup says it has 1,500 beta customers spread across 45 states and that its customers are 80 percent women. The company has raised $3 million in total funding, including investment from Halle Tecco, Founder of Rock Health and an adjunct professor at Columbia Business School, and Jack Novack, founder of First Choice Emergency Room in Dallas.