Egyptian health-tech startup Otida has raised $340,000 in a pre-seed round led by Lofty Inc., a Texas-based VC, with the participation of Flat6Labs Cairo, Afropreneurs, Jedar Capital, OQAL Angel Investors, UI Investments and some angel investors.
Otida is a diabetes app that serves as a nutritionist, fitness coach, and physician, among other things, for diabetic patients who struggle to go through their daily lives. This round will help in the productization of Otida’s activities as well as the expansion of distribution to reach more patients.
Ahmed Tawfic, founder and CEO of Otida: “Otida’s business model revolves around the needs of patients with diabetes. We believe that with the level of technology we are surrounded by today, it’s unacceptable to have patients with diabetes still struggling to find the right treatment program that fits each individual condition.”
Considering its unprecedented magnitude, diabetes has been recently declared as a global pandemic. In fact, more than one in every ten people around the world is currently living with diabetes; 90% of whom have type 2, which is often milder than type 1 but can also lead to deadly health issues such as heart diseases and strokes.
Moreover, it is estimated that every 30 seconds a lower limb or part of a lower limb is lost somewhere in the world as a consequence of diabetes. Ranked 9th in diabetic population, Egypt is plagued with a fast-growing health problem with a significant impact on morbidity, mortality, and health care resources. Kuwait is ranked 3rd with almost a 25% prevalence rate among adults.
The current care model for diabetes is ineffective, reactive to symptoms, lacks personalizations, depends solely on medications and adds the whole responsibility on doctors alone. This is an outdated approach that Otida aims to defy, because as it stands, the care model for diabetes is considered incompetent due to the poor quality of data gathered.
The blood tests taken only when the patient presents their case to a new physician are not representative enough to build effective treatment programs. That happens because the health care system doesn’t take into account the inconsistencies of each patient’s body; for example, their blood levels could be performing abnormally on the date the test was taken for any given reason.
Otida collects a minimum of 100 data points, per patient, per day, to tailor the best personalized care model for each user on the app. Otida’s solution is a care model that is rooted in technology, it adopts the most up-to-date guidelines to present the most effective care model. Once signed up for Otida, patients receive wearables to read blood sugar levels every 15 minutes and report back to the cloud without having to have the patients prick their fingers with an archaic blood sugar monitor.
That is in addition to the data collected from the patients, such as food consumed, the medication prescribed, and periodical lab tests. That way, and to return with the best fitting care model, the app learns a lot about the patient’s nutrition, glycemic responses to different food and medications, their lifestyle and behavior.
Each patient gets assigned a coach who is available around the clock. Otida also educates its patients about their individual conditions and how they can measure their insulin and blood levels and how they can use that data to improve their lifestyles.
Otida watched as this tech solution changed many lives. Thanks to smart technology and sharp data analytics, Otida was able to reverse diabetes for those diagnosed with type 2.
Mona AbdelMoteleb, Medical Director of Otida: “We have patients with type 2 diabetes who were insulin dependent, with Otida’s guidance they stopped taking it and stopped depending on medications altogether. We want to be a companion to help diabetic patients live a normal, happy life.”
Today, the Otida team is composed of eight members all working towards one mission: to make the life of each user with diabetes easier. To expand Otida’s footprint to a milestone of 5,000 patients this year, the company’s looking to hire devoted, experienced calibers to help make Otida’s mission a reality.
Otida’s team structure is divided as follows: a technology department that’s responsible for both development and product management; a nutrition department of nutritionists and dieticians studying each patient’s response to food and placing right plans that work with each correspondingly; a medical department armed with endocrinologists and other relevant specialties; customer support department with agents answering to the patients’ questions and requests; data analytics department to make use of the data collected within the app to present the users with a healthy, efficient solution.
Founded originally as instadiet, the app focused its methodology on the glycemic responses of its users. The app would measure how quickly each food item causes their users’ blood sugar levels to rise and put together a diet plan accordingly.
Due to this data-driven approach tailored for each individual, the app attracted a lot of users diagnosed with diabetes who found their methodology perfect for their day-to-day lives. The demand the app collected got the founders to rethink their strategy to be even more efficient to their diabetic user base and the 9 million people with diabetes in Egypt and 73 million in the whole region.