Akibah Launches Indiegogo Campaign For Smartphone Case Glucometer


San Jose-based digital health startup Akibah has launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds and awareness as it finalizes its development of a smartphone case that doubles as a stand-alone glucometer. Akibah was launched in 2013, and was incubated in Kansas City in 2014 as a member of the Techstars accelerator partnership with Sprint. Outside of the limited funding received from Sprint, Akibah has raised no publically disclosed venture funding to date. Despite this obstacle, the team has created a prototype glucometer that is now the centerpiece of a crowdfunding campaign aimed at raising $50,000 in the next month.

The team behind Akibah includes Larry Ellingson, former chair of the American Diabetes Association and executive director of diabetes care at Eli Lilly. Ellingson is the CEO of Akibah, alongside founder and COO Fathi Abdelsalam. Abdelsalam has no healthcare background, having worked in the US Patent office prior to launching Akibah. At launch, Akibah set its sites on building innovative hardware to support chronic disease management across a multitude of diagnoses, but will target diabetes first and, with Ellingson on board, has the leadership in place to make a serious run at the market.

The prototype Akibah has created is a self-contained glucometer that doubles as a smartphone case. The case holds an inventory of test strips and lancets, as well as a blood glucometer. Results are passed directly to a smartphone app, where they are displayed to the end user and where they are stored indefinitely for trending over time. The case is compatible with both iPhone and Samsung Galaxy smartphones. The case itself is relatively heavy, weighing in at 3.5 to 5 ounces. Compared to an iPhone 6, which weighs 4.5 ounces, the case has the potential to double the weight a user would typically carry.

On the upside, the case includes all of the equipment a diabetic would otherwise need to carry around to monitor their blood sugar levels, and eliminates the need for glucometer cables to sync results with a smartphone app. Akibah has no FDA approval, but beyond the capital infusion, an added benefit to crowdfunding campaigns is that generates a list of potential test users that could submit usability data in support of the FDA application. Scanadu used this same tactic when applying for FDA clearance on its Scanadu Scout consumer device.

Akibah is estimating June 2016 shipments of the device, and is asking $69 per unit on its campaign. Thus far, the campaign has some catching up to do, having raised just $2,100 of its $50,000 funding goal.

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