Cara, a Berlin-based digital health startup has raised $2 million in seed funding led by Atlantic Labs along with a group of undisclosed angel investors. Known as “poop-tech”, the company has launched the first precision medicine solution for digestive health.
In 2016, HiDoc Technologies launched the Cara app with the aim to help people with chronic digestive disorders. Today, more than 20% of the world’s population suffer from the Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), reflux and food intolerances. What most of these people have in common, is that they receive conventional one-size-fits-all treatments which only work in some cases or might be ineffective.
Sometimes they cause unnecessary side effects. This leads to frustration among patients who are already in a crisis. One-size-fits-all solutions fail because everyone responds differently to the treatments, due to differences in the individual gut microbial fingerprint, lifestyle and environmental factors. Hence, precision medicine is needed to make treatment more effective, reduce side effects and non-responder rates. Last but not least, it will also save costs.
The team of medical doctors and data scientists at Cara talked to hundreds of patients to figure out the best solution. Together with experts in the field of gastroenterology, some of which have joined the scientific advisory board, they started to understand what is missing in the current system. They launched the food and symptom diary Cara, an app that allows people to track their nutrition, symptoms and other factors like medication and activity. It also provides analysis and actionable insights which empower the user to understand their own body and regain control including a Cara probiotics solution.
By using the Cara App, the Cara algorithms know how your symptoms evolve and can adjust the probiotic formula. After knowing where the journey should go, Cara will see how an individual’s microbiome is adjusting with every bottle of Cara Biotics. Using symptoms and all other factors tracked in the Cara App, Cara can make an up to date personalized estimate if your microbiome is evolving in a healthy direction.
In June 2017, Cara was featured on the App Store in Canada, UK, Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway in ‘Hot this week’ and ‘New apps we love’. Currently, Cara is featured on the App Store homepage in the US, Canada and the Netherlands.
During the last few months, the team have been preparing to bring Cara to the next level. Cara will match the right digestive remedies to the right patient by combining microbiome insights with AI and treatment response data.
“Poop tech is the next big thing. Digestive issues are still a taboo topic but we are now making them visible to the public. Digestive diseases are widespread. There are so many people out there suffering from bloating, diarrhea, constipation or stomach pain on a daily basis,” said Jesaja Brinkmann, medical cofounder at Cara in a statement. “Unfortunately, many health practitioners are not up to date with the state-of-the-art treatment options. Also, conventional treatments don’t work for everyone. None of our competitors combine the patient’s individual microbial, lifestyle, environmental and treatment response data as well as predictive treatment outcome algorithms which are needed to learn and offer individualized and appropriate digestive remedies for microbiome optimization and symptom reduction” added Brinkmann.