I was having lunch in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in the early 2000’s with my great friend and mentor – Frank Moss. Though we were proud of the companies and products we had built, ultimately we knew a sense of meaningful purpose had gone missing in our professional lives. We had built a lot of software, sold a lot of software but how was the world any better or different? Frank’s thoughtfulness guided us down a path in search of a way for us to contribute beyond just creating more software. I would like to tell you some of that story and where the path has led over the past 15 years.
Various factors and some great people pointed us toward the Life Sciences as a place to find meaningful work. During our exploration of the industry’s challenges, new friends (thank you, Steve Holtzman, Eric Lander, Julian Adams, Adelene Perkins and many others) encouraged us to join the start-up team at Infinity Pharmaceuticals, which introduced us to a compelling mission: make a difference in the lives of cancer patients by discovering important new therapies.
At Infinity, Frank and I began to find the meaning we had sought. In the process of helping start Infinity, we discovered a huge gap between modern information technologies and what was available to the stakeholders in health care – researchers, doctors, nurses, patients. We realized that smart people in computer science and software engineering had been spending a lot of cycles focused on building great systems and algorithms for ad networks while world-class researchers and doctors working on medical breakthroughs were relegated to ancient systems that were decades old – much less leveraging state-of-the-art collaboration/social info tech that held such great promise for promoting cross-functional collaboration between scientists.
Consequently, I began strongly advocating that the best people in technology should focus time, attention and energy on solving information challenges faced by doctors, research scientists, informaticians and patients. These users are some of the most important end-users of information in the world and the information technology solutions available to them should match the grand purpose of their work – to improve human health.
Fast-forward: 2013. As Frank and I are working with many great companies on the forefront of eHealth, we meet Veera Anantha, who spent years as a top-notch engineer in the mobile products/services industry. Veera had gone in search of purpose beyond building the next generation of mobile devices. Veera, with co-founder, Swathi Kiran, set out to apply the latest in consumer tech to brain rehabilitation for the 15M people in the US and 45M worldwide who suffer from stroke or traumatic brain injury. They believed that access to continuous, personalized and science-based therapies could simultaneously improve outcomes and reduce costs. Just what the US healthcare system needs. 🙂
Constant Therapy has raised a bit of money but is crazy capital-efficient and has driven dramatic organic user growth. Veera recruited an extraordinary team of world-class engineers, clinicians and business people over the past two years. I love it when great entrepreneurs bootstrap and figure out how to do more with less.
Constant Therapy has already served many millions of exercises via its iPad app, and is making a big difference in the lives of more than 10,000 patients. The Android app will hit the Google Play Store in the next month or two. Constant Therapy is also used by clinicians and special educators in hundreds of institutions, including Massachusetts General Hospital and the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network. Constant Therapy enables clinicians to provide powerful rehabilitation therapies to patients, as well as to better manage the progress of the large number of patients under their care. Some patient stories are remarkable, like the Army Captain who regained speech after being shot in the head by a sniper during the Iraq conflict. Building these types of applications matters – full stop.
And Constant Therapy has proven that it’s possible.
eHealth ideas/start-ups often don’t need massive infrastructure or a ton of capital to get products off the ground and become great. They just need motivated founders and a committed team of talented engineers and clinicians who possess a vision that aims to solve society’s most perplexing healthcare problems. Constant Therapy hits all of my buttons: great founders, a worthwhile mission, the potential to make a meaningful difference in the world and an unbelievable culture, which is why I’m proud to be an advisor and investor in this remarkable company.