Hi.Q raises $5.5 million for health literacy assessment app

By Aditi Pai
09:33 am

Hi.QMountain View, California-based Hi.Q raised a $5.5 million seed round led by Charles River Ventures with participation from Greylock Partners, Menlo Ventures, First Round Capital, Rock Health, and Western Technology Investments, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Hi.Q was founded by Munjal Shah, who previously founded shopping website Like.com, which was acquired by Google for a reported $100 million in 2010. This year, in May, Rock Health added Hi.Q, known at the time as Health Equity Labs, to its sixth class.

Hi.Q has developed an app that uses quizzes to assess a user's health literacy -- in a survey of 250,000 people, the company found that 21 percent of American consumers had "sufficient knowledge to take control of their health".

"The last hundred years were spent increasing the linguistic literacy of the world -- in the next century, our challenge now is to increase the world's health literacy, and the Hi.Q assessment is the first step in reaching that goal," Shah said in a statement. "I realized that the first step is not to just go and count your steps, but rather to gain the knowledge and skills needed to manage your own health." 

Topics that Hi.Q offers includes ending sugar addiction; choosing dense vegetables; how foods impact mood; understanding portion control; and reducing risks of heart disease. All questions in the Hi.Q assessment are certified by health professionals like nutritionists, doctors, dietitians, yogis, organic farmers, chefs, and professional cyclists.

Assessment questions in the app are experiential, and as a result are more telling of a person's health literacy, the company argues. Instead of asking 'Do you regularly overeat?', the assessment would ask 'How many cups of cooked rice are in a typical 8-piece sushi roll'.

After answering the questions, app users can compare their overall Hi.Q score and topic scores to experts and other members of the Hi.Q community. For example, users can compare their results on a nutrients quiz to those of the average Walmart shopper, the average Whole Foods shopper, the average farmer’s market shopper, or an organic farmer.


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