Scanadu raises $1 million on Indiegogo, buys more time to crowdfund medical tricorder device

By Jonah Comstock
11:21 am
Scanadu CEO Walter De Brouwer (right) and Star Trek's Leonard Nimoy (center) Scanadu CEO Walter De Brouwer (right) and Star Trek's Leonard Nimoy (center)

Scanadu, the startup building a suite of smartphone-connected medical diagnostic tools for home use, is extending the Indiegogo campaign for its premier SCOUT device an additional month after hitting the $1 million mark. The extension, coupled with the fact that the company is only $300,000 away from the top funded project on Indiegogo, Scanadu is on track to become the most-funded project in the site's 5-year history. UPDATE 7/12/2013: With 8 days left, Scanadu has surpassed the previous record of $1.37 million to become the most funded project ever on Indiegogo.

"People want to be empowered, to keep our own records," Scanadu CEO Walter De Brouwer told MobiHealthNews in an email." This is why we chose to do Indiegogo in the first place, to give people the chance to join us and help us make this a reality. The response we've gotten on Indiegogo -- from more than 90 countries -- only validates that we've struck a nerve that's truly universal."

As MobiHealthNews reported at the start of Scanadu's campaign, the backers who are receiving SCOUTs are all technically usability testers for the device, which is not yet cleared by the FDA. As of now, more than 4,000 Scanadu SCOUT devices have been preordered -- a pretty good sample size for a usability study.

"The more people involved in the usability study the better," De Brouwer wrote. "We will learn more from them, get more feedback and hear from people all around the world about what is most important, what they are looking for. By crowdfunding the research aspect of it, we know we will build a device consumers want. They become the funders, the researchers, and the users."

Because the devices hace sold so well, the devices will be available in black and white, not just white as originally offered. At least a few big names are funding the project. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak contributed to the campaign, as did Eugene "Rod" Roddenberry, son of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. In a similar vein, the Scanadu team posted a picture of Leonard Nimoy -- Star Trek's original Spock -- visiting the Scanadu headquarters. However, Scanadu said Nimoy is not backing the campaign, he's merely a well-wisher.

Black ScanaduCurrently, the most-funded project of all time on Indiegogo raised $1.3 million to buy Nikolai Tesla's old laboratory and turn it into a museum. It went viral with the support of popular webcomic/blog "The Oatmeal." Right now, Scanadu is the third-most funded project (behind a Robot Dragonfly). It's also the fastest funded project with a goal of over $20,000 in the site's relatively short history. Two digital health projects fall into the top ten most-funded projects as of now: the Misfit Shine at number six and the Amiigo fitness bracelet at number nine.

Shine is currently experiencing some trouble getting all the devices shipped on time from their successful campaign, though not as much trouble as Kickstarter success story Pebble did. De Brouwer told MobiHealthNews that meeting shipping deadlines will not be a problem for Scanadu, but time will tell.

"We are in a different situation because we started building the tricorder from the bottom up two years ago, we did not start after our campaign," he told MobiHealthNews. "The device has seen 18 iterations, the industrial design is ready, the algorithms are in place, the manufacturer is secured, the FDA audit trails are operational. For Scanadu this is just the end of the beginning. We did Indiegogo when we were over-ready."


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