Medical apps are growing in importance around the world. From the recent development of an app that can diagnose malaria to Cambridge University’s development of an app that can assist in monitoring issues such as diabetes and kidney disease, these developments could potentially have a big impact on world health.
One digital health startup has recently expanded from Berlin to NYC this past July is Klara (formerly GoDerma). According to the Klara website, “Klara enables a secure communication between patients and dermatologists – before, during and after treatment. Patients photograph their skin problems, answer a short questionnaire (developed in collaboration with university hospitals and dermatologists), and submit their case securely via the app. Board-certified dermatologists diagnose cases within 48 hours.”
We had a chance to sit down with Simon Lorenz, co-founder of Klara and ask him a few questions.
Why are you in New York?
We were working on an iPhone app that lets you consult a board-certified dermatologist online by taking a picture of your skin problem and answering a medical questionnaire. I am in New York because our app has received tremendous interest from US customers. When we marketed it in the US, in less than two weeks, we became #3 in the Apple App Store for medical apps.
Where does Klara stand now?
Since our test a couple of months ago, we incorporated in the US, enhanced our product so that it is ready for the US market, and solved potential issues of medical malpractice. We scaled up our dermatologist team from two dermatologists to eleven. We also increased our product team in Germany, and our German business is growing in parallel with our US business. We launched our product in the beginning of July and since then have paying customers every day.
What have been the biggest challenges so far?
We operate in the biggest global health care market. That comes with a lot of complexity in terms of regulation, competition and building up a team or just navigating the system. We still do our programming in Berlin, which works well for us.
What advice would you give other companies?
If the US market is right for you, there are a couple important things to know:
- One of the company founders needs to be here. It’s not enough to have a local team or a local manager.
- Find strong and trusted local partners or partners that have local networks in the US. For instance, working with Deutsche Bank enabled us to start business here almost immediately.
What is next on your agenda?
We are laser-focused on showing that we have gained traction with patients, doctors, partners, and geographic reach in the US. The rest will follow.