Serial Entrepreneur Munjal Shah Launches Health IQ App, Closes $5.5 Million Seed Round

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Google is calling 2014 the year of the health and fitness app. After crunching some numbers from its app store, Google found that fitness apps were the fastest growing sector in its mobile ecosystem. As a result, presumably, consumers are walking around with more fitness data at their fingertips than ever before. A lot of time, money, and effort has gone into making sure that data could be extracted, shared, normalized, analyzed, poked, and prodded, but until now, no one had launched a startup focused on making sure consumers know what all that data means.

Sunjal Shah, a serial entrepreneur with multiple successful startups under his belt including Like.com, which sold to Google for a rumored $100 million, has just launched a free new app designed to measure and improve health literacy. Shah has been operating in stealth mode since his company’s 2013 launch. While the digital health industry at large is betting big on personalized health data pushing consumers to make healthier choices, Shah thinks an overlooked but potentially powerful alternative strategy is to set aside the quantified-self tools and tackle health literacy instead.

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His company’s app, called Hi.Q, contains thousands of questions on general health topics, as well as on specific areas of interest, such as yoga, nutrition, and building muscle. These questions are presented to users in the form of a quiz, and an overall health IQ is then calculated. Users can see how they stack up compared to the US population on general health questions, as well as on their particular areas of interest.

The app is free, and Shah has publically promised that he will not sell user generated data to health insurance companies. However, this does not bar him from analyzing the data internally and selling the findings. In fact, the company is already analyzing its data and looking for larger correlations. Shah field tested his app on 250,000 users and claims that early analysis of that data shows correlations between health literacy levels and obesity. Shah’s team is now looking for correlations between health literacy and hospitalization rates.

Now, despite not having a clear monetization strategy, Shah is ready to launch his new company and app, and has the financial support of some major Silicon Valley VC institutions behind him. Shah announced that, in addition to the new app, the company had closed a $5.5 million seed round, led by Charles River Ventures, with participation from Greylock Partners, Menlo Ventures, First Round Capital, Rock Health, and Western Technology Investments.


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