Welltok buys kids' activity tracking system Zamzee to build out CafeWell

By Jonah Comstock
04:30 am
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Zamzee MeterDenver, Colorado-based health management company Welltok, which makes the CafeWell Health Optimization Platform, has acquired kids' activity tracking platform Zamzee, which formerly spun out of Redwood City, California-based nonprofit HopeLab. The terms of the sale were undisclosed.

The Zamzee platform, which combines colorful clip-on activity trackers with a gamified, anonymous social network to encourage kids to be more active, will be integrated into Welltok's CafeWell offering to make the platform more attractive to families.

“Zamzee will be an essential component of CafeWell since it gets the whole family involved in their health,” Welltok CEO Jeff Margolis said in a statement. “Health optimization is achievable at every age, and engaging in healthy behaviors in adolescence is proven to have great impact on bending the curve over the long term and creating healthier, happier populations.”

Zamzee spun out of HopeLab in 2010 and was able to demonstrate in an efficacy study that it got kids who used the platform to move 60 percent more than non-users over a six month period. Although the offering was initially a direct-to-consumer play aimed at families, it followed a familiar trajectory in digital health and began targeting health insurers (like UnitedHealth Group) and larger operations like schools or pediatric weight loss clinics.

Welltok CMO Michelle Snyder told MobiHealthNews that they acquired Zamzee not just for its ability to engage kids, but also for the potential for those kids to then engage their parents to move more as well.

"When we first started [CafeWell], it was focused on the individual level, but part of our vision also is that it’s not just the individual," she said. "When we would speak to our clients they said 'It’s great you’re focusing on the individual, but we’re starting to think about the whole family unit and how can we not only impact the individual but their children as well.'”

Welltok will relaunch Zamzee as a product exclusive to CafeWell members in November, with the hopes of being fully integrated in Q1 2016. Snyder said she couldn't talk too much about how the product will change, but she said they will move away from the dedicated activity tracker as the only option, towards being able to track kids' activity in a variety of different ways.

Welltok has been something of a serial acquirer in the digital health space over the last few years.

"Our CEO Jeff Margolis is very much of the belief that you need an inorganic and an organic growth strategy to build a successful health IT business," Snyder said. "He has this vision for what a health optimization platform is, and all of our acquisitions have been about putting together the different pieces of that strategy."

In May 2015, the company bought Predilytics, a Burlington, Massachusetts-based predictive analytics company, for an undisclosed amount. Welltok is incorporating Predilytics’ engine into CafeWell, to help health plans, at-risk providers and other population health managers better understand and anticipate the needs of their populations.

In March of last year, the company acquired Seattle-based Mindbloom, which offered users a series of apps aimed at helping them improve their lives. One app, Juice, was created in conjunction with Premera Blue Cross to help users track which aspects of their routine affect their energy. Another app, Lifegame, used a virtual tree to represent the different spheres of life like health, career, and spirituality. Margolis said Welltok bought Mindbloom more for its team than the apps themselves.

That acquisition came just five months after Welltok’s acquisition of healthcare incentive design and management firm IncentOne, which creates incentive programs meant to deliver rewards to consumers after they fulfill a requirement from the program. At the time, Welltok planned to integrate the IncentOne technology into its CafeWell platform, giving population health managers a more convenient way to offer consumers personalized rewards for healthy behaviors.

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