Digital health startup MedAnswers provides a communication platform for patients to ask their peer-validated network of experts unlimited questions, anonymously. Experts and patients connect through their web or iOS app, with Android app coming soon. Experts upvote each other’s answers and patients thank them, as well as follow Q&A threads and favorite experts. They launched in the infertility vertical first and are the only company to gather clinical specialists in reproductive endocrinology and urology, alongside embryologists, geneticists, psychologists, and attorneys to educate and empower infertility patients to make better healthcare decisions. Below is our interview with Alice Crisci, CEO and Founder of MedAnswers:
Q: MedAnswers recently announced Securities Crowdfunding Seed Round; could you tell us something more?
A: Historically the only way to fund a startup was through accredited investors, aka rich people. In 2012, President Obama signed the JOBS Act, allowing entrepreneurs to publicly advertise their capital raises. Title III of that historic legislation was Regulation CF (Reg CF) which was implemented just over a year ago. Reg CF allows every person to become an investor. You could work at Starbucks and have $250 you want to invest or you may have a savings account and want to invest $10,000. Equity crowdfunding aims to democratize capital raises.
We love the idea of inviting the same people who need to use our product to be investors. We recognize traditional investors might push back on this, but we are proud of our offering. It’s awesome to think some of our shareholders will be the very same people MedAnswers aims to help.
Q: Can you give us more insights into your platform?
A: MedAnswers currently provides a Q&A platform for a user to submit an anonymous question using our iOS app. We send a push and email notification to our board-certified, specialists who match the expertise needed. They answer the question. Their colleagues upvote them or add their own answer. We send a push notification to the user when the question is answered. The user can request a consult through a form that is submitted directly to the expert – MedAnswers does not facilitate the consult. We will add video consults, direct messaging and committee consults for when patients need multiple professional opinions to our feature set in the future. We also have plans to leverage machine learning and genomics to help patients with very personalized decision making while they are dealing with a health crisis.
Q: What makes MedAnswers a good choice?
A: Probably the best reason is because your peers online might not be qualified to give you the medical answer you are looking for! The quality and variety of our network, speed of answers and ease of use are also great reasons to use MedAnswers. We are the only health app providing patients with direct access to so many types of experts related to their disease – for free. All our experts are board-certified specialists in good standing with their professional society. They also are peer-validated; in other words, our experts are referring other experts for us to review and include in our network. These experts are tech-savvy – they are answering questions in a couple of days. If a patient needs an answer in 24 hours or less, they can pay a rush fee for that. The app is very easy to use – if you use email you can use our app!
Q: What are your plans for next six months?
A: We are so excited for what is ahead. We have plans to launch android, multilingual, two additional verticals (likely genetics and oncox`logy) as well as release product 1.0 with all kinds of helpful features. We also hope to complete our first acquisition, as we’d like to move quickly on our buy and build strategy.