Massive Health Uses Big Data, Mobile Phones to Fight Chronic Disease

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Massive Health, a new San Francisco start-up aimed at tackling health care problems, has just raised $2.25 million in its first round of funding from a stellar list of investors. The company plans to use the money to develop mobile applications that help users treat chronic diseases using big data, analytics, social and game mechanics.

Led by founder Aza Raskin, the former creative lead at Mozilla and Sutha Kamal, former technology architect at Fjord, Massive Health has nabbed funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock Discovery Fund, Mohr Davidow Ventures, Felicis VC and Charles River Ventures. A roster of unnamed angel investors have also joined in the funding.

Raskin is cagey about the details surrounding Massive Health’s business because he said there are many turns coming ahead. He said the company is looking to launch its first products hopefully this year. While he doesn’t go into specifics, Raskin said Massive Health wants to apply the latest in data analytics and advances in mobile devices to tighten the feedback loop for patients of chronic diseases. By helping people tap into their phones as sensors and then analyzing the data, Massive Health is able to better shape the behavior of users. He said in much the same way cars that display real-time mileage data help shape driving habits, Raskin said Massive Health is hoping to create a similar effect using live mobile data.

“The average person has a sensor in their hand and that output can get stored in the cloud somewhere,” Raskin told me. “Our view is once you have that data, you can do interesting things with it.”

The company will also be able to pull out trends and correlations from a larger group of users that can help instruct users. With the phone able to create all kinds of data about a user’s behavior, it makes sense to build products that leverage that for some of our biggest health care issues. Raskin said the company is focusing on the 15 percent of patients that account for 90 percent of the country’s health care bills. We’ve already seen a number of mobile applications targeting health like Fitbit and the Nike + iPod Sensor. It’s going to get even more crowded as venture capitalists look more in this direction. But with no immediate answers for problems like diabetes, obesity, heart disease, it’s good to see more dollars making their way toward this intersection of mobile and health care.

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