Six months ago, developer Eyeem announced the name of its new project: Aware. Lakestar is now investing in the new technology company.
Florian Meissner and his team have been working on the project for a year: With Aware, users should be able to check their blood values and call up the results in understandable language via the app. The first tests have already started, but market entry is not planned until the end of the year. So the health app can’t show much yet, but investors are now investing the equivalent of 14 million euros in the company. When founded, Aware received a seven-figure sum from Cherry Ventures, the June Fund from Google CEO Philipp Schindler and Teleclinic founder Katharina Jiinger. The current seed round was led by Lakestar, with participation from previous shareholders as well as Unicorn founders such as Omio boss Naren Shaam and Christian Reber, the founder of Pitch.
Florian Meissner and his co-founder Ramzi Rizk previously created the photo portal Eyeem and sold it to a Swiss company last summer for €34 million. Your third comrade in arms at Aware is banker Ferdinand Schmidt-Thomé, who, however, does not act as CEO.
You have workshops in the style of Apple stores
“We know how fit we are and how soundly we sleep, but we don’t know our blood values,” Meissner says of his idea in an interview on the start-up scene. Aware wants to set up its own logistics lab, with locations in several major cities – starting with Berlin. There, specialized staff should take the customer’s blood and analyze it within 24 hours, for example for cholesterol, iron content or glucose levels. Customers book appointments through the app. According to Meissner, the labs should be “a mix of an Apple store and a testing center.”
Meissner deliberately relies on venous blood sampling and no at-home testing kits, as convicted founder Elisabeth Holmes attempted with Theranos. In his opinion, rapid kits, which require only a few drops of blood from the finger, would still leave unanswered questions. And patients would have to clarify the results afterwards with a doctor’s visit and another blood test anyway.
Meissner can’t yet say whether legitimate health insurance companies will pay for the Aware service or if the tests are private services. Aware has held health days with a number of companies in recent weeks, where blood samples were taken from employees. That’s how the startup got its first test customers. The tech company wants to continue the events in the future.
The idea is that customers will recognize early when they are sick. According to Meissner, Aware users should test twice a year to stay up to date. If necessary, also through a subscription model every three or six months. “We strongly believe that we can fight chronic disease this way.” In the next step, the start-up creates a platform where users can share their data and, in case of illness, exchange information with those affected worldwide. Or compare their values to those of famous athletes or family members.