After helping architect the Apple Watch platform, former Apple executive Bob Messerschmidt is launching its own startup called Cor. The two-year-old, San Francisco-based company unveiled a portable device that helps measure heart health with just a tiny drop of blood. And it’s launching an Indiegogo campaign to get support from early adopters.
Understanding people’s health from a drop of blood sounds a lot like Theranos, but Cor is very different. For one thing, it hasn’t raised a ton of money and in that sense doesn’t have that much to lose. Similarly, it won’t face the public scrutiny Theranos faced as its product is more down-to-earth device that provides easy to grasp information rather than medical information to the users.
Speaking of the device, it is about the size of an electric toothbrush with disposable cartridges that are used to take the blood and send the data to the cloud-based service. There, the data is analyzed and results are beamed back to the user within five minutes, along with helpful tips about how to improve results. These results won’t include information on blood chemistry, but Cor will process this information to provide its insights.
In an interview with TechCrunch, Messerschmidt points out that Cor is not a medical device company, and will rather offer lifestyle guidance to its users (like what to eat). Nevertheless, Cor did its homework and has validated the model and methods in a clinical trial run by a third-party clinical research organization.
Right now, Cor employs just three people and has some impressive people on its advisory board, including longtime investor Bob Bozeman and Thomas Quertermous, a professor of cardiovascular medicine at Stanford. The company has raised $1.03 million in seed funding, with hopes to get additional funds through the mentioned crowdfunding campaign. The first few who pre-order Cor on Indiegogo will be able to get the device for $149, which includes a three-month supply of cartridges. Otherwise, once it hits the retail, Cor will sell for $299 plus $10 per month for cartridges.
While all this sounds nice, it remains to be seen whether enough users are willing to draw their blood on a weekly basis. Despite its “very fine needle,” we can’t imagine Cor turning into a mass-market product reasonably healthy people would regularly use. We could be wrong, though…