San Diego-based startup Cue believes the future of personal health fits in a small plastic box that — linked up to a smartphone or tablet — will let people monitor and quantify their personal health at a molecular level, right from the comfort of their own home.
It’s just announced a new funding round, pulling in $7.5 million in Series A financing led by SherpaVentures. Immortalana, an early angel investor in Cue, also participated in the round. Prior to this round it had taken in more than $1 million in seed funding.
Two new members are also joining Cue’s board: namely Shervin Pishevar, MD at SherpaVentures, and Robin Farias-Eisner MD PhD, Professor at UCLA Medical School, and partner in Immortalana.
As we covered in an interview with the founders earlier this year, Cue is building a connected lab-in-a-box — to allow the average Joe to run their own ‘before and after’ experiments to quantify whether a particular fitness routine or diet is actually having a beneficial result on their own body. Sample wands are used for taking blood, saliva or nasal swabs, which the Cue then analyzes — pushing processed health data to the user’s app where they can track it.
Cue sees the “deep health” data it’s going to offer users as complementary to the signals they can get from wearable activity trackers. Combining activity signals from wearables with molecular analysis of (for instance) inflammation — one of several health conditions the Cue will be able to track — offers the promise of a far more granular type of fitness tracking than is possible with activity tracking alone, it argues.
Commenting on the funding in a statement, SherpaVentures’ Pishevar said: “Cue is a prime example of the ‘on demand’ economy applied to health and wellness. We exist at a moment where major companies in the tech space are entering the consumer health space, and I believe that Cue’s solution pushes the envelope and has enormous potential to change the way consumers interact with and understand their health.”
In another supporting statement, Dr. Farias-Eisner added: “Cue has the potential to change the way healthcare is practiced by providing trackable health data that can empower patients and doctors simultaneously through mobile devices.”
Cue’s device was on pre-order earlier this year, with a goal of shipping to buyers in the first half of next year. The startup is not currently taking any more pre-orders but has a waiting list on its website for those who missed out on the first wave.
Co-founder Ayub Khattak told TechCrunch the startup is “on track” to ship the device by mid 2015. “We’ll use the funding to help perfect the manufacturing, particularly automation. Precise automation of the manufacturing process will be key in ensuring that the tests are consistent and reliable,” he said. “We have been to China several times and have been working on perfecting the manufacturing process.”
“On a broader level, the timing was right to partner with SherpaVentures for more than funding. Shervin has a track record of success along with experience and connections that are valuable beyond funding,” he added, discussing why it’s raised another round now.
Will Cue be integrating with Apple’s HealthKit? Probably, says Khattak. “We’ve hired a strong development team and we believe that one of Cue’s strengths is its ability to complement new health tracking products with molecular data,” he added.