Esther Dyson, Prostor Capital inject $2M into Russia health startup

By Brian Dolan

004_esther_dysonMoscow, Russia-based startup VitaPortal, which spun out of Moscow's Fastlane Ventures incubator last year, announced $2 million in its first round of funding. Prostor Capital led the round and noted angel investor Esther Dyson also contributed.

When VitaPortal first launched last year it aspired to be a Russian version of WebMD that enabled people in Russia to quickly find reliable health information that had been reviewed by a physician. Since its launch the startup has branched out and has begun offering 30 personalized online health management apps and it is developing a physician and hospital ranking system. It aims to use the new funds to help build out those two product lines. According to VitaPortal, some 1 million people have used its health tools over the past six months.

When VitaPortal launched last year a report over at East-West Digital News pegged Fastlane Ventures initial investment in the startup at about $1 million.

“There’s so much that people can do themselves to stay or get healthy… but they don’t know," Dyson stated in the company's announcement. "With VitaPortal, we hope to give them the knowledge and the motivation to live healthier lives, both with content and with apps that help them get meaning from data about their own health and activities.”

Back in 2010 Dyson also helped to launch a Russian version of Text4Baby in that country. She's also been very active as an angel investor for digital health startups in the US.

Last December HealthRally announced $400,000 in funding from a group of angel investors that included Dyson. HealthRally combines financial incentives and social networking by creating a fundraising crowd platform similar to the website Kickstarter, which enables micro-investments for various causes and projects. Last March Dyson contributed to a $2.35 million round of funding for patient-physician Q&A platform HealthTap. Dyson also backed Contagion Health, which merged with Health Month to become Habit Labs, but the team disbanded and shed its assets earlier this year.