Many people get a bit down in the dumps over the holidays, and now, of course, there’s an app for that, too. BrainTracer’s MoodTunes uses neuroscience to lift your mood, via tasks and gaming.
Today we hear from Andre Konig, BrainTracer’s Founder and CEO, who explains how, if you are suffering from depression, or related mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, postpartum depression or PTSD, MoodTune can help you feel better simply by completing an easy task on your smartphone. Spend 30 minutes a day with one of the four available tasks and lift your mood. It seems that, even when it comes to mental health, the play’s the thing…
Tell us about the product.
BrainTracer’s mission is to bring the best science available, via a mobile platform, to people who suffer from depression. Our app, MoodTune, delivers neurobehavioral tasks affecting specific brain functions to improve symptom prediction and treatment outcome in patients suffering from MDD. MoodTune also offers mood assessment, tracking and analytic tools.
Our goal is to provide applications, data and a platform to reach those who are not treated (~80% of affected people), cannot afford classical treatment methods or are looking to reduce the cost of their current treatment while improving efficacy.
It’s cheap – existing treatments, medication and therapy are very expensive, as are new emerging technologies such as TMS. MoodTune is available at a fraction of the cost of these treatments. It’s fast – the above-mentioned treatments take time – up to two years – to maybe see results. We can show improvements in a matter of months, maybe weeks. It’s anonymous and it’s mobile – no need for doctor or hospital visits. And most importantly, it’s data driven – we are able to confidentially collect and analyze generic (demographic, performance, assessment results) as well as specific patient data (surveys, medication adherence, behavioral, etc.) to continuously adapt and improve the overall treatment – and MoodTune.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
An estimated 18 million people in the USA suffer from major depressive disorder. About twice as many are never diagnosed. The cost associated with current treatments and lost productivity is ~$80B a year.
An especially pressing issue is the suffering of our troops and veterans, where the suicide rates are almost double the general population.
We see a significant need by healthcare providers to improve the tools they use in mental healthcare, and aim to partner with institutions looking to further new mental healthcare approaches.
There is a lot to do to improve mental healthcare in the USA. And that’s only the start: MoodTune easily crosses borders, due to its digital nature!
What is the BrainTracer business model?
BrainTracer is currently being retailed through the Google and Apple app stores, and available for a one-time fee, with an in-app purchase option for advanced features.
Institutional users have access to licensing agreements.
Why is your team the right one to get the job done?
We live, breath and sleep mHealth and are dedicated to understanding how science can help people who suffer from depression. Our Scientific Advisory Board is truly world-leading in that respect. Our management team has decades of experience in building and running businesses, with a strong focus on technology. It is supported by a growing board of directors with strong strategic credentials. And our technology team is world-class, with impressive iOS, Android and back-end experience.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within 6 months?
We are currently working on a number of milestones. Here are the three most important ones:
First, roll out the new version of MoodTune, which will provide significant improvements and new features.
Second, finalize and kick-off our first clinical trial. Also, provide a first set of non-clinical data analysis on our current customer base and their results in using MoodTune.
Third, larger scale institutional pilots to start customizing MoodTune to the needs of specific corporate or institutional clients.
If you could speak with one investor in the New York community, who would it be and why?
Stephen Bloch from Canaan and Stephen Krupa from Psilos – both, in our opinion, stand out from the crowd in terms of their technical investing skills and discipline. And both have a strong commitment to healthcare, especially in the greater NYC region, that seems to go beyond your typical biotech or medical device investment.
Visionary healthcare VCs (unlike angels) are still rare in NYC and both Stephens lead the pack.
Why are/did you launching/launch in New York?
Because NYC is my home. The greatest city in the world! Where else would I do it?
Do you see NY as the next destination for digital health?
No doubt! NYers are no-BS entrepreneurs and dedicated to building actual products for real clients. With a striving healthcare startup scene (Blueprint Health, Startup Health, Happtique, Health 2.0, etc), some of the country’s finest healthcare providers, a large, easy to access market and money plentiful, it’s NYC’s bet to lose.