Keas, Founded by Former Google and Bit9 Execs, Tries to Make Online Care Plans Pay
Keas has an online platform that gives patients interactive software for improving their health. But the San Francisco-based startup has had to change its strategy to find customers to pay for its technology.
In October 2009, Keas made its first big public debut, with articles in the New York Times and on a Wall Street Journal blog. It also rolled out its online system to the public for free. Founded by former Google Health head Adam Bosworth and Boston-area tech veteran George Kassabgi, the startup originally set out to create an online marketplace of care plans for consumers.
The vision was for health experts, like physicians from outside the company, to design online care plans for use on the Keas website, and then for people to choose the care plans that best suited their health goals (such as losing weight, reducing cholesterol, or controlling blood sugar). The envisioned online marketplace functioned similar to the iPhone App Store. To date, the company has succeeded in getting 30,000 people to register to use the site and health providers like Joslin Diabetes Center and CVS MinuteClinic to design care plans. But what has worked for Apple didn’t take off for Keas.
Keas, which has raised venture capital from Atlas Venture and Ignition Partners since its founding in 2008, was disappointed to learn late last year how little consumers would actually be willing to pay for its service and menu of care plans. At the same time, the physician community was slow to warm up to the idea of providing patients online care plans, since most doctors make money by seeing patients in their offices. In December, the startup figured out that it needed to revamp its business model that relied on consumers to buy its services for the business to make money, Bosworth said, the firm’s chief executive.
“We said ‘Aha, this might not … Next Page »