NEW YORK, May 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Mately, a health tech startup that is seeking to upend a decades-old STD testing model, announces today the launch of its crowdfunding campaign, which will allow early joiners to reserve their place in the Mately network.
Mately is seeking to break the current mold of STD testing by offering its members what they have been waiting for – a way to submit a sample from home to a lab and exchange one's results electronically with potential romantic partners. "STD testing advocacy that relies on scare tactics and emotional appeals just isn't working anymore, as evidenced by the rapid increases in STD rates we've seen in recent years," says Brandon Greenberg, CEO and Founder of Mately. Statistics show that 20 million new sexually transmitted infections occur in the United States each year. "If we really want to move the dial when it comes to more frequent testing, then we must create a model that makes it more convenient for individuals to get tested often and offers them a value proposition that gets them excited about a process that has traditionally been avoided," he said.
The key-enabling feature of the Mately business model is the collection of ultra-small sample volumes from home. Available at local pharmacies or through mail directly from Mately, members will be able to purchase a kit containing a new and novel dried blood spot collection device and urine collection tube. The blood collection device allows for a much faster drying time as compared to traditional dried blood spot cards, which can take up to 3 hours to dry in some cases, and is easily shipped back to Mately via regular mail in a small return pouch provided with the kit. "The experience is overall better – members place a couple drops of blood from their finger into the device, close it and the process is done. There's no concept of setting a dried blood card out to dry, which most consumers would be averse to doing," says Yao Wang, Mately's Chief Scientist.
Results are transmitted digitally to members via the Mately app. Members can also use the app to exchange results with other members or offer non-members a time-limited view of their results. Mately has also planned integration with dating apps for the display of Mately member badges to indicate one's membership in the network. "The badge is simply a signal of membership. It says nothing about one's results, but it will have the effect of letting others know that the conversation about STDs will be a quick, easy, and will have a degree of certainty that heretofore simply wasn't available," says Greenberg.
Mately has already captured the attention of top physicians, including medical advisor Dr. Jake Deutsch. "Patients currently do not see physicians often enough for the important concern of sexual health testing. Reasons include lack of time, convenience, and affordability," says Dr. Deutsch. "Mately is making it easier for the patient to get tested and know their sexual health status when and as often as they need. This service will most definitely reduce STD transmission."
"What you've got here is a stack of multiple problems being solved at once. Whether it's the DNA-based sample identity verification process that we've created or the testing procedures themselves which are optimized for small sample volumes, this is a complex business. We've seen a number of companies try to get an STD disclosure app off the ground, but they have all failed because they still expected the customer to get tested at a clinic on a Wednesday night on their way home from work. None of them took the time to re-imagine the testing process. We have."
The campaign, hosted on Indiegogo, will help Mately become a reality for all consumers looking for modernized testing practices that fit seamlessly into their lives.
Mately is a monthly subscription-based STD testing service designed to address the increased risk of STD contraction that is present as a result of the rapid growth of online dating. Mately will enable its members to submit small volume samples to its CLIA-certified lab from the comfort of one's own home. Mately will then pair the disclosure of results to the member with a closed, private, electronic network where members will be able to securely exchange their most recent test results with other Mately members. Mately is not a dating site or a social network. Rather, it is a utility that that is agnostic with respect to, and will sit atop, all dating sites and act as a companion to those using the internet to locate romantic partners. www.MyMately.com
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