Vator Splash Health, Wellness & Wearables 2017

Vator Splash Health, Wellness & Wearables 2017

All contestants:
Catalia Health
Location: 629A Bryant St., San Francisco, California, United States United States
Founded in: 2014
Stage: Pre-launch
Number of employees: 6-15
Funding history:
- Date: 05/2015, Seed: $1.25 M (post valuation: undisclosed amount).
Investors: Will Bunker
Investment Firms: Khosla Ventures
Short URL:
Awards and mentions
The IDEO Startup in Residence program helps early-stage teams embed design thinking into their core DNA as they grow and scale. The startup team lives in an IDEO design studio for a quarter, working to achieve product-market fit. Along the way they’re mentored by IDEO designers and participate in the daily life of the studio. Going forward, they also benefit from being part of the IDEO’s family. All Startup in Residence candidate companies are referred by IDEO’s network of trusted advisors and investors.
At the 2016 Rosenman Symposium one highlight was the presentation of the Rosenman Innovation Awards. More than 90 companies competed for the awards. Eight finalists were invited to pitch at the symposium. Catalia Health was one of the 8 finalists.
MedTech Innovator is the industry’s nonprofit global competition and accelerator for medical device, digital health and diagnostic companies. Their mission is to improve the lives of patients by accelerating the growth of companies that are transforming the healthcare system. Every year they comb through hundreds of applications to find 20 companies to provide mentorship and whom will compete for 335K in funding. The MedTech Innovator finals at AdvaMed 2016 is the culmination of a year-long program, with six pitch sessions and three competitions held in seven cities around the globe, in an industry-wide collaboration of hundreds of companies to identify and move these transformative innovations forward Catalia Health was first a semi finalist and then finalist in this competition.

Cory is one of those rare founders who combines deep healthcare specific knowledge with the ability to move quickly in an industry that is not easily disrupted. Catalia Health's effectiveness with the Mabu Personal Wellness Companion is measurable and leads to better patient outcomes. Great founder + massive opportunity with a product that is in patients lead to a great investment and we're happy to be part of Cory's extended team.

Catalia Health

San Francisco, California, United States United States
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Company description

Catalia Health is a patient care management company that provides an effective, scalable, AI-powered patient engagement platform for individuals managing chronic disease or taking medications on an ongoing basis.  The company combines the efficacy of conversations tailored to individual patients with the cost efficiency of scalable technology.  By combining proprietary artificial intelligence algorithms for generating conversations with the patented advantage of social robots, Catalia Health is able to effectively engage patients to gather and analyze data critical to providing the highest level of patient care.

Our platform brings together artificial intelligence with psychology to create conversations that engage patients over time. Layered on top are medical best practices to deliver appropriate conversations to a patient each time they interact.

These interactions are context-dependent; no two conversations are alike and the goal is to create, build up, and maintain a relationship between the patient and the Mabu Personal Wellness Companion. This relationship ensures that patients will interact with the platform on a long-term basis. We have demonstrated significant clinical outcomes in duration of patient engagement in a randomized controlled trial at Boston University Medical Center. That study focused not only on the outcomes, but also on the patient motivators that deliver these improvements in engagement. The robot was 40% more effective at keeping people engaged with their treatment program than the same software working off only a screen. Engaged patients are more likely to stick with their treatment program and ultimately achieve better outcomes.

In addition to helping patients stick with their treatment program, our platform gathers granular data about patients' experiences with their treatment programs. This kind of data can lead to insights about how to optimize these treatment programs, from zeroing in on behaviors that could lead to avoidable side effects to understanding how nutrition, sleep, and other factors interact with the treatment program. These insights can then lead to improved care management and superior patient reported outcomes.

We will be launching our platform in May of 2017 to help patients with rheumatoid arthritis and kidney cancer. We are also aiming to launch a platform directed at chronic heart failure.





  • Cory Kidd
    Cory Kidd | Founder
    Dr. Cory Kidd is the founder and CEO of Catalia Health, a healthcare technology company that delivers effective patient engagement and behavior change. He's a serial entrepreneur who has been working in healthcare technology for nearly two decades.
  • Ninette Tan
    Ninette Tan | Team member
    Ninette Tan is the Patient Experience Lead at Catalia Health. She is responsible for creating the rollout platform for Mabu. She works with the team to ensure safety and accuracy in delivery of care for patients who interact with Mabu.
  • Thais Miller
    Thais Miller | Team member
    Thaïs Miller is a writer at Catalia Health, who helps research, organize, and create variations for the content that Mabu uses to interact with patients.
  • Brien Voorhees
    Brien Voorhees | Team member
    Brien Voorhees is a Senior Software Engineer at Catalia Health. He is in charge of backend development to enable data collection and analysis as well as device management.
Business model

We charge on a a per patient per month fee for the use of the Mabu wellness robot to healthcare companies to increase adherence to a treatment program and to provide rich data on patient interactions and outcomes. Pharmaceutical companies, integrated health systems, and CROs all agree that this business model makes sense.

Within the pharmaceutical industry an example of a target customer is a company like Pharmacyclics (now part of Abbvie, but still retaining independence and innovation). Pharmacyclics produces a Imbruvica, a chronic lymphocitic leukemia medication. This medication stands head and shoulders above the previous treatments for CLL. The survival rate on Imbruvica dwarfs the competition and it has far fewer side effects as well.

The challenge Pharmacyclics faces is that while in clinical trials patients remained on the medication for 14 months (with new results showing many patients able to stay on the drug for 49 months), the results in the real world are much poorer, averaging around seven months on therapy. This means patients are dying sooner than they need to. And Pharmacyclics is losing revenue as well.

Companies like Pharmacyclics with medications like Imbruvica, effective medications whose price tag is in the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars, are our target customer. Indeed, the current brands we do have deals with are also examples that fall in this category. We look forward to sharing the names of these brands when we launch in May.

Our go-to-market strategy is to improve the outcomes of patients who use the Mabu wellness companion in our three upcoming pilots, to increase the duration of time patients are on therapy, and to showcase the kind of data we can gather through engaging conversations. Relationships with target customers are in place to capitalize on a successful pilot launch.

Competitive advantage

We look at competition across a variety of factors.  Our most recent competitive analysis identified 37 companies that we might consider competition with some aspect of what we’re doing in the medication adherence space where we’re seeing the most traction.  Of these, 9 have some unique feature about their product, service, or business model that made them the most interesting to watch.

Many of these companies serve as medication reminders.  These come in a variety of forms, from the very low-tech (pillboxes), higher-tech (smart pillboxes to basic reminder/alarm apps), to more advanced (intelligent apps that understand more than just schedule, calls from a provider).  

In our research on the challenges presented in medication adherence, what we see is that patients are non-adherent for a variety of factors and forgetting to take a drug is one of the smaller ones.  However the solutions posed to this problem are heavily overweighted given the relative simplicity of attacking this problem.

The bigger challenges in non-adherence come for a variety of other factors around engaging that patient in their cycle of care over time.  While we do some basic reminding in our approach, the core of our offering is around addressing the other issues of and solutions to non-compliance: tailoring to an individual patient, education about disease state and progression, comprehension of a treatment methodology and all it entails, and the network surrounding the patient.  

While these are more complex issues to address, our core platform helps patients navigate a wider array of challenges. Unlike platforms that are solely designed to remind patients to take their medication, our platform enables patient accountability through personalized goal setting. Our platform takes a holistic approach, tracking symptoms and side effects, educating patients about their medication, encouraging patients to connect with their care providers and pharmacy. Our platform creates better patient engagement and impacts a larger group of people than our competitors.

While the robot is a cute face to our system, it’s the underlying integration of software and hardware that fundamentally sets our approach apart from much of the competition.

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