Scanadu’s Scout dubbed the world’s first medical Tricorder is absolutely crushing it on Indiegogo setting the record on the crowdsourcing site for the fastest funding velocity in history. So far they have raised 1.3M with 10 days still left to go absolutely destroying their modest goal of $100,000.
So what the heck is it? The Scanadu Scout is designed to be a medical grade Tricorder that uses your smartphone and Bluetooth LE to emulate an Emergency Room in your pocket. It was originally designed by Scanadu as part of the Qualcomm Tricorder X PRIZE competition and the first prototype of the device was only released six months ago.
How it works is you hold the hockey puck-shaped device to the side of your head and the Scanadu Scout will determine your heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, respiratory rate and oxygen levels in the blood. It can then send this information to an iOS or Android smartphone, via Bluetooth.
It’s a pretty cool product and the perks offered on Indiegogo are very appealing but on the surface it doesn’t seem to be that much different than other crowdfunded products in much more sexy markets.
So why is a health tech startup resonating so well?
Scanadu took its cues from Captain Jean Luc Picard when launching their Social Media campaign, “engage”! Scanadu has executed a near flawless Social Media campaign that has amassed almost 6,000 loyal followers on Twitter, 2,000 Likes on Facebook and 500 followers on LinkedIn. While these numbers aren’t huge, they represent loyal believers that have spread the word, shared, liked, blogged and commented about Scanadu significantly enough to catch the attention of traditional media and A list bloggers.
Ok, they’re calling it a Tricorder so they clearly understand their market, geeks. More specifically health geeks. Health Geeks are data driven but they also want cool stuff. This product delivers on both counts. It demos well, provides tons of interesting data to analyze and it just plain looks awesome. Adding the quirky Star Trek reference gives users permission to play with the technology, show off the device and tap into the cult of geek in an industry where most medical devices would never be considered cool. Which leads to…
Picture a “medical device”. You’re probably imagining a big ugly green or beige box with LED displays and lots of wires popping out of it everywhere and something that periodically beeps. Yuk. Now look at this thing.
It’s gorgeous. Even before I knew what it did I wanted one.
Lean Startup Principles
Even with great product design and brilliant online marketing campaign Scanadu recognized that to really hit it out of the park they needed to get the device into the hands of customers early. This allowed them to validate their prototype fast and then pivot or re-engineer based on real customer feedback and to build a solid reference base and huge list of prospective customers eager to buy the finished product. Scanadu readily admits and credits a number of its early adopter customers with the incorporation of additional features such as assistance for visually impaired users.
Scanadu addresses real customer pain
This is really by far the most important aspect of the product. It solves a big problem that lots of people have. When it’s 2 AM and my toddler has a fever and a cough and I’m not sure what to do I can call telehealth and wait on hold for hours, take him to the ER and spend the night in a hospital waiting room or simply sit and worry until morning and call the Doctor hoping for an appointment.
For a parent there is no greater pain than seeing your child in pain without the means and ability to take action. Having a device that will help me make an informed decision in that moment is well worth the money I spent. More importantly having the ability to proactively manage my health and the health of my family with real measurable data empowers me and ultimately reduces the costs and burden placed on the healthcare system.
With significant sales already booked via the Indiegogo campaign, Scanadu is in a great position to bring it’s product to market and launch cash flow positive.
They are entering a huge market with significant demand already created and they are doing it with a truly disruptive technology not just a gadget. While this first iteration may not completely deliver on the promise of a medical Tricorder it is miles ahead of many of the other heath tracking gadgets already on the market and addresses a real customer pain which will drive sales funding further R&D and product iterations.