StuffThatWorks Raises $9M Seed Round to Empower People with Health Conditions to Discover Which Treatments Work Best
Started by Waze's former Head of Product, the platform already has 100 conditions and 180,000 contributors
23 Jul, 2020, 09:00 ET
TEL AVIV, Israel, July 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- StuffThatWorks, the patient community platform that harnesses crowdsourcing and AI technology to empower people to share their experiences in an organized way to discover which treatments work best and for whom, launched today backed by $9 Million in seed funding from Bessemer Venture Partners, 83North, and Ofek Ventures.
Whether mundane or life-threatening, anyone living with a chronic condition is familiar with the routine. Seeing a doctor or specialist, often being dissatisfied with the level of improvement - seeking a second and even third opinion, then beginning a trial-and-error process of prescribed treatments, only to come away still searching for a better option.
For most, the next step is usually searching for other people's experiences online in the hopes of finding something that works better. Millions of people share their personal treatment stories in online support groups but there's no way to make sense of it all. StuffThatWorks is here to solve that by providing patients with a place to share their experiences in a structured way, optimized for analysis. StuffThatWorks' proprietary AI transforms data shared into personalized treatment effectiveness insights.
"People are the ones that hold in-depth knowledge about themselves, their condition, and the way treatments affect them," said Yael Elish, CEO and co-founder of StuffThatWorks. "Collecting this knowledge in an organized and structured way across is the only way to compare effectiveness in scale. And when that's done across all chronic conditions it creates a gold mine of data that can dramatically advance and facilitate research to the benefit of both the patient and the medical community."
The more contributors the smarter and more personalized the insights get. The data formed becomes available to everyone and is updated in real-time, along the process.
- Initially, no immediate information is available and the community focuses on inviting more people to share their experiences via sharing the survey.
- With only one hundred contributors, initial insights about the condition including age of onset, symptoms, aggravating factors and treatments can begin to be shared and browsed.
- At several hundred contributors, StuffThatWorks' proprietary machine learning kicks in, and treatments can be ranked by level of effectiveness.
- Once thousands of people contribute, the system can predict the most effective treatments for both subgroups and individuals.
The more people participate and contribute to the data quality and the community, the more points they accrue, and the greater their influence on what will be researched next.
"Few companies manage to implement crowdsourcing in a way that significantly impacts the world - and applying it to such an important domain, in an elegant way that scales across so many conditions, has never been done," said Arnon Dinur, Partner at 83North. "StuffThatWorks has the potential to utterly transform the way the medical community and patients alike around the world approach treatments."
There are already 110 condition communities open on StuffThatWorks, with nearly 180,000 contributors sharing over 10 million shared data points and 150K experience-based content-rich pages all while in stealth mode.
StuffThatWorks' approach is relevant for all chronic conditions from the relatively common, such as diabetes and ADHD, but also rare and even orphan diseases that receive little attention and access to even less data. If the community for a particular condition hasn't been created yet, anyone can open it within minutes and invite others to take the survey and contribute too.
"With more than half of the world's populations suffering from at least one chronic condition, chronic illness is a rapidly growing global epidemic," said Adam Fisher, Partner at Bessemer Venture Partners. "We believe that StuffThatWorks can not only help millions of people get access to valuable knowledge on treatment effectiveness but also disrupt and innovate the way data from patients in the real world is collected and analyzed today."
StuffThatWorks is collaborating with a limited number of researchers, medical organizations, and patient advocacy groups on Patient Reported Outcome (PRO) research.
"It's a growing consensus that the landscape of next-generation medicine and research will be heavily participatory and crowdsourced," said Yahal Zilka, Managing Partner at Ofek Ventures and Waze early investor. "Being the only player implementing a structured cross condition approach to Patient Reported Outcomes (PROs), we believe that StuffThatWorks will play a key role in this space facilitating cutting edge PRO research."
StuffThatWorks was co-founded by Yael Elish, former Waze founding team member and Head of Product. Elish spent years helping a family member cope with a medical condition that, while considered "mundane," took a heavy toll on her and her family's day to day life. Months of online research, driven by the belief that others, somewhere, must have experienced something similar, led to the discovery of a medical treatment that was more effective than what was prescribed. Similar to how Waze sought to empower people to build maps and share data to help each other bypass traffic, here, too, crowdsourcing presents the optimal solution to a large-scale problem.
Alongside Elish, the dynamic team at StuffThatWorks is led by Co-Founders, CTO Ron Held, and Chief Data Scientist, Yossi Synett. Held is a former head of an IDF intelligence team and an accomplished mathematician, whose wealth of research and analysis experience, along with Synett's extensive experience in machine learning, AI, and hands-on analysis, combine to channel StuffThatWorks' AI-driven technologies and data science to empower the greater good with knowledge and information.
StuffThatWorks applies machine learning and the power of crowdsourcing to empower people with chronic conditions to transform their experience into an organized knowledge database aimed at figuring out which treatments work best. The more contributors, the more personalized the insights get. With 180,000 contributors across 100+ conditions, StuffThatWorks is the largest and most up-to-date PRO (patient reported outcome) knowledge base optimized for research. Founded by Yael Elish, Ron Held, and Yossi Synett, StuffThatWorks is based in Tel Aviv.
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