Does your daily multivitamin contain trace amounts of pesticides or metal contamination? LabDoor, a San Francisco-based startup which is part of the Rock Health digital health accelerator, on Thursday launched public beta versions of web and mobile apps to help you find out.
Similar to the way the GoodGuide app gives people a quick and easy way to search and comparison shop for sustainable products, LabDoor lets users search for their dietary supplements and view grades reflecting their clinical efficacy and ingredient safety.
“It uses science to tell you what’s real in consumer products,” said founder and CEO Neil Thanedar. Prior to launching LabDoor, he ran his own FDA approval lab. “I knew which products were barely passing the standard to get on shelves and which were really excellent,” he said.
LabDoor brings Thanedar’s previous lab’s product safety testing methods to a new class of consumer products. For now, the site offers grades for dietary supplements and energy drinks, but it plans to expand to other over-the-counter medications, cosmetics and organic products.
The company’s database includes publicly available data from sources like the National Institute of Health and vitamin labels, as well as lab data from its own independent testing. LabDoor’s algorithms then compare products based on safety, efficacy and price to generate grades. Although Thanedar said the database includes information on thousands of products, when it launches in public beta on Thursday, users will only be able to search for hundreds of products that have underdone advanced testing. Over the beta period, the company will test additional products and add them to the site.
Thanedar estimates that the dietary supplement market is worth $36 billion and that, limited though it may be, LabDoor’s subset of the market covers $10 to $20 billion of that market because it focuses on the most popular products first. Last year, Consumer Reports found that supplements can come with risks and are often labeled inconsistently.
Consumers currently interested in researching safety and efficacy information on vitamins can check out Consumer Reports for a subscription fee or view more limited reviews of brands and products online. But LabDoor’s plan is to be a more comprehensive resource that provides much of its information for free. If you search for Kirkland branded Calcium, for example, you can view a grade, reviews and a general assessment of its efficacy and safety without paying anything. The company said it will offer premium subscriptions to consumers and professionals interested in more information, including composition details, recommendations and competitors.
To date, the company has raised $350,000 from investors including Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, Mohr Davidow Ventures, Mayo Clinic.
Image by foodonwhite via Shutterstock.