Keas raises $8M, partners with Fitbit for gamified employee wellness

By Jonah Comstock
04:00 am

KeasKeas, the corporate wellness platform founded by Google Health vet Adam Bosworth in 2009, has announced an $8 million investment round, new customers and partners. The round was led by existing partners Atlantic Ventures and Ignition Partners. Keas hasn't raised money since the end of 2011, when it raised $6.5 million. Total funding for the company now stands at $25.5 million.

The current incarnation of Keas -- an employer-facing gamified social network that also incorporates data from connected devices -- is similar to other device-connected employee health platforms that have made big announcements this month: Aetna CarePass and Jiff Healthcare's new venture. Keas announced a partnership with Fitbit that will allow users to automatically import Fitbit stats into the Keas network to share, track, or compete. The company has previously announced partnerships with BodyMedia and Runkeeper, and CEO Josh Stevens told MobiHealthNews recently that partnerships with Jawbone and Nike are in the works.

Keas is also announcing new partnerships with health coaching platforms GAIN Fitness and meQuilibrium as well as LabCorp, a provider of medical laboratory tests, biometrics and health assessments.

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Keas has pivoted several times since its initial inception, going from a " for health" to more of a "Facebook for health." Stevens, who took over the company in February, discussed some of those shifts with MobiHealthNews.

"The company's been through three iterations. The first iteration was five years ago, and Adam Bosworth really created a hardcore health plan protocol based on your biometrics. You'd go to Quest Diagnostics, get your blood drawn and a whitepaper would come back and say 'here's what you should do'. It was technically accurate, but very boring," he said. "That went into a pivot into Keas 2.0, a social game. We dumped the data overboard, made it all self-reported, and made it more like the Facebook-Zynga experience. ... With that one, the usage was very high, but the hard health data and getting to a return on investment was missing. We went back to the first version and brought back just enough data to make it relevant for the ROI, but not so much data that you're overwhelmed."

Keas has a number of corporate customers using their wellness platform. Pandora, Valeant Pharmaceuticals and KLA-Tencor were just announced as clients, and the company had previously announced Pfizer, The Cheesecake Factory, Living Social, Reed Elsevier (owner of Lexis Nexis) and defense contractor BAE Systems.

Stevens said the money is being used to meet what he's saying is an increased market demand caused by provisions of the affordable care act that are just kicking in. In addition, the company intends to branch out into other "human capital management" areas besides just employee healthcare. These could include training and compliance, open enrollment, and benefit selection.

Stevens echoed his competitors in speaking about the need to get self-tracking data out of silos to really make it useful and actionable.

"You have to give choice to the consumer so whatever they're using can be incorporated," he told MobiHealthNews. "All this data is in seven different places and it's really hard for the consumer to bring that together and benchmark to see where they are, and see how that value actually helped. The value add of Keas is that we bring all that together."

Stevens believes what sets Keas apart from other employee wellness platforms is guaranteed engagement -- the company claims its users check in to the platform 10 times per month -- and the social aspect. Employees on the network can compete in team health challenges for rewards such as a reduction of their deductible.

"Your team is made up of your colleagues and your family -- we cover dependents for free," he said. "The user sets goals individually that they can report in on every day or their wearable computer can update. You can participate individually or on a team to win prizes. When you're on a team you're eligible for greater prizes. This is by design, because people on teams are more likely to participate."


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