Proactively Manage Your Health At Home With Microfluidic Lab On A Chip
Covid has shown that there's a huge awareness now of the importance of proactively managing your health in a non-neurotic way.
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i feel that there's a there's a genuine need and there's a purpose that i feel um as a as a business we have something meaningful to contribute to society
so hello and welcome today i'm very excited to be joined by daniel mags from bisu daniel um thank you very much for joining us today uh i'd very much like to hear your story your background and what you're doing with biso and how it's going to really help change lots of lives so perhaps first of all could you give me an introduction about who you are and what you do that'd be great it's a pleasure thank you very much scott for having me so i'm a british entrepreneur based in tokyo running a startup that's helping people to understand and improve their health in the comfort of their own home originally i was for my sins a lawyer many years ago and um i think it was great training but during that time i really got interested in the people who were making things and starting things and creating new things and that challenge excited me so i got my training and i left after two years i went into a small investment bank learning about tech companies and then uh i moved to japan i had a passion for japan for a long time my degree was japanese and i joined a japanese tech company as a product manager doing sort of planning and marketing for new services and during that time we got into this whole area of internet of things and biosensing devices they were just doing software i want to do hardware so i decided to leave and the rest is history as they say excellent so um tell me a little bit more why uh why you went this this route we'll talk more about be sure in a minute but with all of the different career paths you took the interest in iot and the interesting hardware why focus on this i think you're calling it biomarkers yeah i mean it's a health sensing device right so the biomarkers are the indicators the different indicators of health status that you can track with a device but why do this kind of business why do this kind of product i think there are a number of reasons so there is a business side which is um you know as a society we have a pandemic of chronic disease we also have an aging society and it's really important for you know without one to be sort of cheesy you know better future for our children change the world it's also true that we need to live healthier longer more productive lives um you know for our society and and for the economy as well right so um it used to be the case that you would work in a job for say 60 years you'll retire for five you'd have a small pension and then you would go that whole structure has changed now we're retiring for a very very long period of time and actually uh we need to work for longer and many of us actually want to be carry on working and creating our older age so um we know it's very important to go and see a doctor once a year and when you get sick of course you can go and get treated your genetics also play a part and the environment which you grow up is also you know financially um air quality all these different things are very important but the largest factor in whether or not you're sick or healthy is actually the day-to-day decisions you make about how you treat your body how stressed you are what you eat what you drink how much you exercise doesn't have to be a lot but it has to be some um your tobacco intake your alcohol intake all these things sum up and none of us are 100 healthy and hopefully not 100 unhealthy but the important thing is overall while enjoying life you want to be in a healthy zone and we're a company that helps people to be not perfect but be in a healthy zone so you know there's a reason for the company that sort of comes more from i think there's a business opportunity here putting my business my hat on um living in japan a society that's quite close in some ways um that's trying to be more open to the world i thought well this is somewhere that we can make something that will be valuable not just in japan but all over the world for a very very long time like this trend of health awareness and disease prevention and increasing longevity is not going away it's not just a hobby for wealthy coaster dwellers in you know who are inside of biohacking this kind of stuff right it's much more than that and i think covert has shown that there's a huge awareness now of this importance of proactively managing your health um in a non-neurotic way so i feel that there's a there's a genuine need and there's a purpose that i feel um as a as a business we have something meaningful to contribute to society one thing that excites me about bc is that you know um traditionally you've had this whole area of medical devices and um technology and the people in this area are very focused on therapeutics they're very concerned about treating patients and what's the condition how do you get reimbursed and then the people in the wellness space have been well sometimes you know it's not necessarily personalized nutrition but it's more personalized marketing or what feels good for you and lots of sales and marketing but not necessarily very robust and i believe that we need to bring these two sides together because they have a lot to learn from each other but i think one without the other is kind of incomplete and
you know bringing more heart to this traditional medical industry but bringing more scientific rigor to this slightly more touchy-feely unregulated wellness area so i feel this is really important to to really bring transformational new services um we also like challenges my co-founder wojciech was a researcher in this area of technology called microfluidics or lab on chip for a very long time a very experienced guy and he wants to take this technology out of the lab and into the home into a real product so it's very common you'll see on you know news or articles scientists develop you know new chip that could test all these things and it's amazing and they publish a paper and someone writes a few articles and you never the product never sees the light of day because the reality is that the thing they made was small but everything around it was huge or like the cost was way too high it was way too complex so um you know you need to also um bring that kind of rigor but also be very very practical about what can people actually use what's accessible and so on so this is the challenge that we face as a company and the last point really is that um uh the name beast actually has a has a meaning which is uh originally it's a deity from egypt who protects the family from evil and disease he makes bad things go away and good things come in he's like a protector and um he was slightly unusual because uh he was the only deity who we're not religious by the way but he it's more symbolic he didn't have a temple he actually lived in people's homes so he was close and trusted part of their lives and he was the only egyptian god who faced forwards not sideways right so he was different from all the other ones and why is this important because bc is a company that the ethos is to be the trusted friend be the trusted advisor to not just the people who can afford the aura rings and the glucose monitors but ordinary people who want to take better care of themselves and their loved ones but don't necessarily have the time or the desire or the means to go for all that deep testing right to make it accessible but also reliable and just to bring a new refreshing approach to i think an area of testing and your analysis it's been the same for 70 years the only innovation has been to make it scanner test it with a smartphone so we felt that we had the opportunity as kind of outsiders to bring something new and that's that's really what bc is about that's uh really interesting so um so many things to touch on there sorry that was a lot longer than the intro could have been no i think i said wrap up now great no there's so many things to dig into um so let's go back kind of to the start of this then so the the health pandemic um chronic disease health pandemic you mentioned give me an um if you can a uh some kind of idea of how how big that pandemic is you know what are you talking about here
so let me let me refrain say the question again then so um yeah we were talking you were talking there about uh kind of the size the uh the the pandemic the uh the chronic um medical conditions that we're looking at what would be really good is to understand kind of the scale of this you know what kind of numbers are we talking about and what conditions are you looking at as well sure so on the more extreme side you have full-blown conditions like diabetes chronic kidney disease those are the two main chronic conditions and obviously cardiovascular disease as well things that affect risk of stroke
and so on and that's obviously a very large a large problem in the us for example one in three people is either diabetic or pre-diabetic and many of them who have those conditions have complications as well but you know many who are listening of course will not have those conditions in their lifetime but there are a number of things that will affect them so we know for example that our kidney condition declines naturally with age over time and that by age typically 65 70 most people are at the stage slightly before chronic kidney disease so they don't die of it the point being is that the longer we actually live the how can i say the condition in which your motor is is going to be more and more refactoring your quality of life in your old ears and eventually things start to break down
so one of the factors for that can be a diet that's you know overly high in things like carbohydrates and protein and not high enough in things like fruit and vegetables another factor can be overly high blood pressure most people have quite a lot of salt in their diet and that's very important for your body but having enough potassium is also really important to balance out the salt that's one key factor in blood pressure for example which is obviously a key a key factor in health so what we're looking at is not just trying to prevent diabetes that's an end point that's part of a bigger trend but it's more like um giving people a way to check in with their body periodically to stay on the right side alone overall while still enjoying the things that they like it's not about perfection it's about progress
yeah interesting and um i've heard heard this a couple of times now i did an interview with a uh a company in um new york that's looking at um making the continuous gluco glucose monitors more accessible yeah josh yeah so um yeah so you know um yeah the whole idea of that is to be able to understand how your body reacts to certain things so you can adjust and improve rather than necessarily just cut out completely because cutting out and adding is really difficult gradually improvement is a good thing i i i think um so so it seems like a very you're looking at these um you know massive issues diabetes cardiac conditions as well what about daily improvements when if people are using your product and we'll talk about how it works in a minute if they're using your product is it something that they can start to see daily improvements
yeah so the things that you're testing the biomarkers do change from day to day you don't have to test every single day just to be clear it's device that tests two things urine and saliva and it can test different things on different testics depending on the need whether it's a nutrition test or a pet health test or a baby health test or a saliva oral health test but let's just focus on the nutrition side so the things that we test to give a sample are for example sodium potassium magnesium calcium hydration ph vitamin c so the you know these have a number of effects on the body so sodium for example is very important things like blood sugar control um potassium is very important for blood pressure regulation calcium is very important for muscle and nerve function not just bones for example magnesium is very important for creating energy it also helps your muscles to relax it's good for promoting sleep for example vitamin c is a very important antioxidant
hydration has effects not just on things like you know hunger but also mood and cognition concentration and so on so way before the disease stage but a key point is that what people are actually trying to aim for their target level is actually very different based on who they are so if for example you are an athlete you're sweating a lot if you're training hard regularly so your target sodium consumption is going to be significantly higher than someone's a bit older and may have some kidney or blood pressure issues if for example you're on a keto diet your sodium requirements will be even higher because your glucose level is very low which means your body doesn't hold on to salt in the same way it loses it much more easily so when we look at recommendations we think about yes there's a test result that's very important but context is very important who are you your age sex weight how physically active you'd like to be what are your diet preferences also your allergies for example and by taking these into account you know we want to provide a recommendation that someone can practically act on but most importantly is actually based on people already do so you know um the more you ask someone to kind of move away from the existing habits the more resistance you have and i think the beauty is to understand okay how do you actually like to eat now let's do it better but we're not asking you to fundamentally change it so we say it's your way but better so one of the things that we've been doing is working on um using some third-party software for easy food tracking to understand how the person likes to eat and then say okay well we have here's your eating patterns here test results these are the specific changes we recommend based on your preferred eating style to get you into a better zone and we think that's much more realistic than saying here's a beautiful like kalin chia seed meal it looks great instagram but you're not actually going to make it and that's where the feedback loop basically breaks down so that's kind of the approach yeah now i i get that i get that um can we talk about the lab on a chip so yeah about the technology um tell me more about how that um how that came to be and uh some of the kind of innovations that happened along the way there to make that something that we can use in the home of course so um the product itself is called a home health lab that's the new category of device that we're bringing here the technology is uh called microfluidics literally small and i'm i'm not the cto so why'd you probably kill me if i get this wrong but let's see that basically imagine imagine a microchip in a computer and inside electricity is flowing and it's being manipulated to perform certain calculations or instructions so a microclinic chip is a little bit like this in the sense that something is flowing inside the chip and it's being manipulated to cause something to happen but what is flowing is not electricity it's a sample of some kind uh could be blood in our case it's urine and saliva a lot easier to work with um look at theronus um and um chemical reactions are being performed so you're combining that sample with a set of reagents and then you're observing what happens in that reaction so this lab on chip technology enables you to miniaturize and automate chemical reactions and because it happens in a very small scale you can use very small amounts of sample and i believe it's called the surface-to-area ratio but the dynamics or the physics of the channels mean that reactions can also happen in a faster or more efficient way so it's way easier much easier sorry to to do this with urine saliva because it doesn't require preparation or centrifuging or have volume limitations in the same way that a blood sample does and it's readily available so that's why it's possible to in our case test 11 things simultaneously from less than a milliliter of sample um collected while urinating um so the device has a testic um grab one here one second just one of the ones over there uh the the the normal one in something into the casing isn't the case i'm sorry just the one sitting in the box yes amazing okay new pile not the used pile no this is not used so normally it's flat it's popped to a triangle shape and it's extended so you have a sample collection pad on the test stick and this is merged very briefly in the sample closed and then placed on the reader i really should have this in front of me my apologies what it means is a normal urine test you would do one of two things pee into a cup and dip your strip or pee directly on the strip neither of these are very appealing they're doable but one of the problems is that um the urine test strip and just be clear this is we are not using urine test strips um it's a microfluidic chip um a urine test chip is a piece of paper a plastic with paper pads on top and these react when they come into contact with the sample and they change color and this is measured in a very basic way that tells a doctor okay i might want to do some follow-up tests but if you're in a home setting with an unskilled you know an ordinary person who you know is busy got other things to do places to go it's very easy to mess this up and you're getting a very very rough or often inaccurate measurement of concentration so our competitors offer these test strips to scan with a smartphone to try and provide you with lifestyle advice our aim is to take this to the next level
and because if you have these test strips you can only use tests that can be immobilized or dried on paper pads so that limits the things you can test so we have one of our competitors trying to well they've developed some prototype new tests but the problem is it's the accuracy is very very low because they're limited by the use of this paper medium and the smartphone camera measurement so in summary the lab lab on chip or microfluidics is tiny amount of sample the ability to test chemistries that are not based on paper gels films dried reagents the ability to use new measurement methods so we don't use the classic measurement method you use with a smartphone use a different one it's a form of something called spectrometry um you eliminate any timing issues because the device has perfect control over the reaction timing and it sees the whole thing in real time and the data goes to your phone uh by bluetooth what it means is um technology aside you can really relax you can collect a tiny amount of sample no cups no clean up no worrying about okay i have to get my phone out and open a nap and start the timer and wait two minutes to take none of that it's gone put the stick on the reader you know wash your hands go to the kitchen fix stuff for coffee open your phone and there are the results it makes it much easier to have this as a regular part of your life it it changes it from a patient experience to a person experience mm-hmm yeah so um you mentioned the uh data um uh as part of the kind of um analysis um also earlier on we talked about regulation now there's been quite a lot of talk in some of the other conversations i've had about how if you look at the kind of legacy traditional um medical arena you have a very high degree of regulation and control around medical devices around intended use and this kind of thing and if you speak to physicians and doctors and people involved in that kind of legacy traditional side there's a worry that all of these startups coming in with medtech and healthtech they come in with this expectation of how they're going to change things but with no real understanding of kind of the regulatory framework in which they need to operate to be considered you know part of the community if you like and that can create risk maybe and risk of abuse risk of misuse so particularly when you're looking at very personal data about someone's health about in which you could perhaps kind of project from as well in the future as well what do you what do you think about this about the regulation in the medical market and your role in that yeah that's a great question i think there's regulation on two sides one is the fda regulation which is about you know are you infringing medical device rules but there's another very important regulation which is ftc which is are you deceiving consumers and i think in the wellness space it's quite rare for startups to breach the fda regulations it happens occasionally i can give a few examples typically people are claiming to test something you know we have one competitor who we have too many competitors one of them they claimed falsely to detect immune system strength based on an infection test one you can't do it it's literally impossible but two you're trying to repurpose an infection test that's originally fda required which is like a disease check so you're skating on very fine ice on both the fda side and also the ftc side i think in the oneness side though in general sorry for the shameless bashing i haven't named names so that's my that's my get out of jail free card um i think really the the issue and the wellness side normally though is is ftc because um you know there are a lot of there are quite a lot of startups where you're making claims that aren't really justified and the one i gave is a more extreme version but unless these things are really howlers then normally the regulator authorities don't take action and it's tricky because people obviously are interested in technology and there's a subsequent of us who are really keen to see the latest and the greatest but i think people don't buy because it has a great technology they generally buy because it makes them feel a certain way however what we've noticed in the wellness space is that there are some startups i'm terrible who have very strong sales and marketing and that's something we're working very much on bringing up new site coming up and so on but they they have very strong launch they typically get to a series they do lots of pre-orders some sales and then the reviews start to catch up with them because they can't actually do what they said they were doing so there's one startup for example that has a breath analyzer that claims to tell people if they are burning fats or carbohydrates again no name is basis but the problem the huge emission that's not mentioned on the website is that to do this you have to measure two things co2 and oxygen in the breath and it's a it's an established ratio called the respiratory exchange ratio they measure one of those things uh co2 only and they estimate the oxygen so you imagine different people's lung capacity the way they breathe and stuff like there's no peer review paper it's a cherry picked selection of non-peer-reviewed papers um it's pretty crappy you know but they managed to get to a 18 million series a so hot startup right but i personally think levels are going to beat the crap out of them because what i see with levels is that they're being very careful to not promise anything they can't do starting a more exploratory basis gather the data do the peer review studies and then go to those next stages so i have a lot of respect for what they're doing i'm not a user yet hoping to be soon but bc's approaches is the same in the sense that we're starting the wellness side we're starting with a proper peer-reviewed external validation of accuracy followed by and this is really the key point is most of the recommendations you see in the wellness industry all black box so it's personalized recognition personalized views okay why is this important for two reasons one is on a scientific basis you want to know that the test result or the recommendation is relevant to their body but the second aspect is people do not like to be told what to do they want they like the idea that they are choosing to do something they are not being told what to do this is basic psychology right so there's a startup called noom i can say this because there's a class action lawsuit one of the hot startups in the weight loss space they've been around for quite a few years now and um they have this super long funnel on their website which is basically you know get your personalized plan it's 80 off and all this stuff and they got hit with a 100 million lawsuit um about three four months ago because it turned out that the only thing that was really personalized was the onboarding flow it was a personalized marketing but actually what you were getting the end was not much different from anyone else sold a ton of products off the back of that right but i think i guess this is maybe you could say it's the technologist in us maybe it's the puritan but we in the short term maybe this means we make less money but i think we can't we couldn't live with ourselves if we went down that road so what i really want to see is um you know more rigor in the air and i guess what this case study shows is that yes these things can cut catch up with you even in the wellness space even if you're not doing anything related to patients um lots of unhappy customers on the medical device side i mean i think people who are going to the medical device side kind of know what they're letting themselves in for um if there's a predicate device then it's pretty straightforward for us um it's most likely that this will be not certain yet we're doing like a pre it's got a pre-submission like a consultation it's most likely this will be what's called a de novo device which means there is no predicate device like if there is a siemens urine test strip analyzer and now i release the bc urine test test of analyze i can say okay it's basically the same but kind of better so we don't need to get any formal approval we'll just file this form right and now we can sell it that's what normally happens but in our case the measurement method is different the biomarkers in some cases are new they haven't been tested at home before the sample collection experience is new so no predicate device you have to apply um that creates a barrier right so i think probably for us the challenge in this area has been the real challenge for bisu has been that um the people on the med tech side are generally like very interested in therapeutics and patients and there's a lot of deep tech often and the wellness side lots of great investors but a lot of them just really want to see a big business fast they they see technology oh it's just a means to an end it just has to be good enough and sales and marketing and execution are really important things like yes but your technology and your data and your validation is actually part of your execution if you don't get it right you will mess up you know a few years down the road as we've seen so the struggle for us is that we are neither a classic consumer hardware startup i mean i'm very fond of levels but i aim with them because they get to use an off-the-shelf sensor we have to build one from scratch right but we are neither a med tech startup we're actually somewhere in the middle and that made it really hard in the early days to raise money partly i had to improve my pitch but because we didn't fit into a box and that that was something that you know we had a few near misses along the way and thankfully come to a much better place but that that was really the struggle but we believe we believe that we we have a chance to really bring these two sides together um i think as what levels is doing for glucose monitoring bc is doing for urine and saliva oh fascinating fascinating so um looking forward um over the next two to five years um what's the kind of impact that you that you're aiming to have um and in order to get that what do you think needs to change if anything to help you get there yeah this is this is a really good question because a number of things come to mind so obviously it depends what market you're talking about right so i think in japan where i live there's a very accessible healthcare system and the cost of treatment is a lot lower the upside is that people in general are more healthy they have a it's a more health conscious culture the downside is they're also more passive about their health right on the u.s side there's a culture of a lot more you know being proactive manager of health but also an extreme opposite of like you know letting things go by the wayside if i was looking at market like the u.s i strongly believe there's a need for a product but i also believe people probably also need much more affordable health care and health insurance like i would if i had to choose between bisou and that i would say the latter is the elephant in the room but i don't get political but just my personal opinion about that but as far as as bc is concerned um you know the impact is that um firstly we should build an experience that is incredibly easy and pleasurable in the sense of being that people should feel good about themselves when they use this product so again if you look at levels for example one of the very simple thing the genius idea was to put this sticker on the cgm and it brands it now you're sporty now you're part of the tribe and it becomes an advertising device brilliant idea for us our approach is to be to make a urine tester beautiful like to make it not like a strip to make the process elegant to make it look like even the reader doesn't look like a testing device it's very discreet um to remove those associations and then the test experience itself should be um engaging and having data but also conversational so we haven't released it yet but the new design is much more like um it's much more like a social media timeline that's the limit i'll say for now but we want to take people on a journey and give them reasons to use the product even when they're not doing tests this is really the key point how do you get someone to engage when they're not doing a test because in a cgm case you're paying levels i mean they it's called price giving you start that the highest segment the new the price comes down but you know typically people are going on for one to three months and that's kind of it right so we see this in a lot of consumer startups there's a big drop off like but services like facebook for example other ones people use it all the time right it's a regular part of their life they couldn't imagine life without it so maybe i'm maybe i'm delusional who knows but my mission is to make an experience that people couldn't imagine not using that it will be a part of their self-care routine rather than i'm gonna pay to go on some like three months program and that's also about having an affordable price i want this to be not cheap cheap but i don't want us to feel that we're charging people more because we can get away with it like i want people to feel really happy about paying the price but for us to make a profit that's really what i want to get to so in five years time we'll have a selection of testics there'll be the nutrition test um we've got a test for cats and dogs um see how your animal's doing a baby diaper with an embedded removable testic see how baby is doing saliva tests for oral health we'd also like to have a saliva cortisol test it's a stress marker funnily enough we also have interest in testing cows from quite a few areas like livestock testing and we also have some interest in having some kind of toilet integration at some point so when we started this company we were actually trying to put something in the toilet and this whole dream uh this whole dream of the health tracking toilet it's been around for almost 20 years give you a short history um the first people to talk about this were panasonic then it was manchester electric but they said one day we all tracked the health from the toilet and panasonic is going to build this toilet and they tried and it didn't work out and to be fair they were quite early and then toto everyone knows toto 2008 they actually made a toilet that did this it measured glucose from your urine two years later they shut the whole thing down why firstly the technology area this lab on chip technology area was less mature than it is now secondly um the tech the approach they made to the technology was something that is really easy to break down and degrade so if you get anything in the toilet huge cleanliness issues are your senses stable do they have to be refrigerated do they have to be calibrated the more complex technology you put into the product the harder it gets but it's hard to make it simple so the challenge is make it work make it accurate make it easy to use but make it simple um i've seen people making like better moths of a toilet with like kitchen sink of sensors is never going to be a product right so every every month almost i see an article you know someone announces a toilet device concept and so on but um this really comes back to the point which is technology is great but you mustn't fall in love that the true innovation is i believe is sincerely important it technology is not just a means to an end it's a fundamental tool by which we advance you know say advance humanity but advance the human experience forward right so it's very important but the user experience is also critical and once you get to and level technology then you start to fail so um this is a very long way of saying that we do have plans to have a toilet-based device but i think it will not be what you would normally expect we're basically looking to embed the reader so that you can take your sample with a testic and then just have it right in the toilet test it right then and there because once you start having an arm and you want to collect the sample like ladies ladies are wonderful but they don't always pee in the same direction they can't it's hard to control right so if you're having an arm in the toilet it's trying to collect that sample it's going to have to move very fast to make it work and then you have to clean it afterwards or if you're collecting it from the toilet bowl bacteria all these things build up so i think the best solutions are always elegantly simple but there's a lot of work to get to that point okay interesting now um this has been fascinating um more than you bargained for sorry absolutely i mean yeah absolutely but that's good that's good because i like to learn i like to find out new things so that's brilliant now last question i think is um you were describing earlier on about the the deity besu which i find fascinating and having worked in organizations with a japanese influence before i wasn't surprised to find that the name had a meaning all of these other organizations have had a japanese influence the name has been incredibly important and has got some deep meaning behind it so how did you how did you find that name how did you find the the deity was it something that was already there it's like oh we can use this or did you actually go and look for something uh i'd like to say there's a glamorous story behind it we were basically searching on google so we were brainstorming ideas um i think you know like i said we're not i don't think it's the fact that it happens to be an ancient date it's important but it the character of bisu i think represents in many ways what we're trying to achieve as a company it's not the reason to start the company but i think it helps to represent some of those reasons and i think you know when you see lots of companies in the health and wellness space often the first name is slightly doesn't really have so much it may have a kind of meaning but it's typically something health right something health and you know we didn't want to be kind of pigeonholed as like a health tech startup we want it to be a brand that's really familiar to people and simple so right now the website's bsu.bio it's now changing to com soon um you know because we don't want to be seen like a biotech startup we kind of started in that area but i think it should be snappy and simple so um you know but there ideally you would have a name you know there are names that do convey the benefit ideally the benefit ideally it conveys both the product and the benefit that's the ideal right so uh levels is a pretty cool name because you know it's like trying to get to the next level but also track your level or something right um but i think you know when we saw it we kind of we kind of fell in love with it and the rest is history really so that's basically it excellent excellent well um thank you thank you so much for you know your time today your insights and talking with me um at the end of these interviews i normally ask uh my guess one last question which is quite simply is there anything that you wish i'd asked you that i haven't asked you and you'd like to share with us it's okay to say no i mean you've you've been a great host so i've nothing i feel you haven't said but what i would say to the audience is um if you are somebody interested in testing the product do please go to our website at www.bisu.bio that's bisu.bio there's a form where you can sign up for the beta program which we're rolling out through this year if you have any questions or if you're interested in things like partnerships or press whatever it is or just curious about the product feel free to get in touch we're very happy to speak to you and thank you for listening to me by now those links will be across the bottom already as if by magic so please follow those um also to the viewers if you like this please don't forget to like and subscribe to the youtube channel there's plenty of other interesting interviews coming along as well and um if you're okay with this daniel i'll put the link to the levels um interview as well because you've watched so many times as well so once again thank you so much for your time today it's been a pleasure
My Thoughts on the Conversation
Testing your bodily fluids isn't a topic many of us would bring up over breakfast. In some way, it is this stigma that I think Daniel at the team at Bisu are trying to overcome.
The benefits of urine and saliva testing have well been understood for a long time. Yet the difficulty of collecting and analysing these bodily fluids has either led to the true value of the analysis being restricted to medical-practitioner-led scenarios (e.g. a doctor's visit) or at-home-tests that are often open to interpretation or can provide questionable accuracy.
As in previous interviews (like the one with biowearable startup Levels) Daniel's sights are set on creating technology that is accessible, accurate and easy to use in the fight against global health crises, such as diabetes.
At Bisu, they are trying to make at-home urine testing not just easy and clean, but pleasurable. Now, whilst that was an interesting choice of words for me, Daniel continued by saying that the idea is to make a product that makes the user feel good about themselves, and that they want to use it again and again. The design philosophy reflects this and has resulted in a product that wouldn't look out of place even in your kitchen (not that we'd recommend using it in the kitchen, of course), and this is accompanied by a user journey through the app that helps the user understand, interpret and take action on the results in near-realtime (circa two minutes from test to result).
Whilst talking about regulation in the healthtech/medtech space, it was interesting to hear Daniel's opinion on how some health and wellness startups are making the mistake of focusing too much on marketing and scaling rather than science. He said that this is resulting in mislead consumers and hefty legal claims. One of the challenges he mentioned that healthtech startups face is the expectation put on them by investors to get something good enough that can scale fast. Daniel's advice for any medtech startup or investor is to remember that the science, data and validation is part of the execution, not just the technology alone.
In terms of the future, he sees applications of the urine and saliva test for nutritional testing, pet wellness, one that integrates with baby diapers, oral test, stress tests and even cow and livestock tests.
With a look back through the history of toilet test sensors, Daniel's advice is applicable to many startups and technology companies - make it work, make it accurate, but keep it simple.
Watch the video for more insights from Daniel, and do leave a comment to let me know what you think. Indeed, I'd love to hear of other leaders you think I should invite to the interviews.
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