Nurse avatar startup Sense.ly raises $1.25M for follow-up care

By Aditi Pai
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Sense.ly avatar MollySan Francisco-based Sense.ly raised $1.25 million from accelerator Launchpad Digital Health, Eastlink Capital Management, and five angel investors.

The company was incubated in mobile operator Orange, but became an independent company in 2013.

Sense.ly has developed a “virtual nurse”, called Molly, that provides follow-up care to patients, focusing mostly on those that have chronic diseases. The company offers patients an avatar that analyzes the patient’s condition and provides insights into what steps patients should improve their health. The platform uses gesture capture based on Microsoft’s Kinect as well as a Nuance-powered speech recognition engine.

Sense.ly cofounder and CEO Adam Odessky told MobiHealthNews the company will use the funds to scale the team and business. He added that in the last few months, they have doubled their team and now have nine employees.

The company also added several customers including senior and disability care center SeniorServ, substance abuse treatment clinic Janus of Santa Cruz, and provider San Mateo Medical Center. 

Odessky said one of the company's goals is to reach low income populations. Sense.ly has already tested the product with about 1,000 low income patients in pilots done through San Mateo Medical Center and SeniorServ.

"[Working with low income populations] definitely is an emphasis for us," Odessky said. "The reason being, we've had really good results testing with both elderly patients and Spanish-speaking patients because our avatar speaks Spanish. And actually the Spanish patients really like her a lot because she speaks better Spanish than the translators on the phone."

The company also plans to reach large insurers and providers. Odessky said they have signed a few large hospitals as customers but their names remain undisclosed. In the future, Sense.ly aims to be the core follow-up platform for telemedicine services. The user interface for the platform, Odessky said, has a deep focus on patient engagement.

"You can't have patient engagement without driving  the necessary data and insights, actionable data insights make clinicians do their work better, faster, and higher quality," he said. "And so the goal of us is to engage with patients more frequently to get more data."

Odessky added that this data will eventually be used to calculate outcome reimbursement.

Earlier this month, Sense.ly announced that it would take part in San Francisco-based accelerator Launchpad Digital Health. The accelerator was founded by Fred Toney, formerly the cofounder and CFO of RxList (later sold to WebMD) and the CFO of C8 MediSensors as well as Ted Ridgway, the former COO for KitCheck.