A decade ago, a wave of companies promised to transform people’s health by allowing them to track data about their eating, sleep, exercise, and other habits. One hot startup of that moment, Zeo, raised more than $30 million from investors to develop a headband that tracked users’ sleep patterns and an accompanying app to serve as their personal “sleep coach.” Despite devoted users and buzz about its product in publications like Wired and Popular Science, Zeo quietly went out of business a few years later.
Zeo is just one of many digital health startups whose early promise failed to materialize into lasting impact. Money continues to pour into the space–to the tune of nearly $12 billion in investment in 2017–but few companies have cracked the code for delivering technologies that truly transform healthcare. Why?
Many digital health companies fall short because they apply a strategy to healthcare that was developed and refined in the tech sector, an entirely different industry with its own set of rules.
Consumer technology startups often push quickly to get a minimum viable product to market and then iterate to improve that product based on what most resonates with consumers. Entrepreneurs and investors from the tech world mistakenly assume that this “lean startup” approach, which works well for products like photo-sharing tools and meal-delivery apps, should be equally successful for tackling any kind of problem. However, this strategy is ill-suited to healthcare, a much more complex and regulated industry…
Read the full article online at Fast Company.