Kaia Health raises $8M to alleviate musculoskeletal pain through machine learning

Steven Loeb · September 18, 2019 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/4ebd

Half of all adults in the U.S. are estimated to have a musculoskeletal condition

It's estimated that half of all adults in the U.S. have a musculoskeletal condition, making it one of biggest health problems in the country, and one that many people can't get help for.

Enter Kaia Health, a digital therapeutics company that creates treatments for a range of disorders, including back pain and COPD. It uses machine learning to give patients personalized care that they can use on their own devices.

"Musculoskeletal pain is one of the biggest unsolved health issues for Americans. Kaia contributes to solving MSK pain by digitizing the best-in-class therapy, called multimodal pain therapy. Kaia developed an app which makes this therapy easy to access for anybody who needs it," Konstantin Mehl, Founder and CEO of Kaia Health, told me. 

On Tuesday, the company announced that it raised an $8 million funding round led by Optum Ventures. This follows a $10 million round that the company raised in January, led by Balderton Capital, bringing its total capital to $22 million.

The new funding will be used to accelerate Kaia's sales growth in the U.S. health care market, and to extend the platform into other chronic indications.

"For now we mainly look at chronic obstructive pulmonary disease as multimodal therapy also shows a high clinical evidence. Multimodal therapy is the combination of physical exercises, psychological exercises and medical background knowledge," said Mehl.

The funding will also go toward expanding its supporting clinical evidence base.

"We are at the moment conducting more clinical studies with different target audiences and focus of the studies. This will expand our clinical evidence in many ways, proving our Apps for new patient groups and proving new technologies we are using."

Kaia's customers are self-insured employers and health plans, and its users typically suffer from repeat back pain. Right now it has over 70,000 monthly active users, which Mehl says "is more than any other pain management app worldwide."

"They've tried other treatments before and are now looking for a long-term solution," he explained.

"The best ROI patients see is that they can successfully manage their pain and lead a healthy life. This is hard to quantify in numbers, but we often get the feedback that our users didn’t need other medical treatments for back pain, which are very costly. With our B2B customers we always do cost-saving analysis and see very positive results so far."

Kaia is taking advantage of a number of trends in the healthcare industry, including a rapidly growing digital therapy industry as well as a healthcare system in the U.S. that "faces rising costs due to chronic diseases and solutions of the offline medical system are often temporary solutions or very expensive."

"In the future more patients will look for self-management solutions that are easy to do from home. We and many in the industry expect a massive growth of digital therapies over the next decade," said Mehl.

"Our mission is to give every patient access to the best in class therapy. Success for us is if can help as many people suffering from chronic diseases."

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