Digital preventative health platform combines blood, DNA and microbiome testing to power up your healthspan with highly personalised supplements.
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British start-up humanpeople is on a mission to help fix everyday health issues and reduce the risk of chronic disease. The company has developed an AI-powered platform that aims to emulate some of the work carried out at specialist functional health clinics in an affordable, easy to use and scalable way.
Following a successful 18 month pilot, humanpeople was launched commercially earlier this year and is currently raising £700,000 in pre-seed capital to ramp up its business. The deal is EIS qualifying for UK investors.
Longevity.Technology: The digital health space is booming and humanpeople comes to the party with a compelling, differentiated proposition. Via an AI analysis of blood, DNA and microbiome biomarkers, the company is initially focusing on creating highly personalised supplement packs to boost its users’ healthspan. We caught up with the company’s co-founder and Chief Medical Officer Dr Geoff Mullan to find out more.
Leveraging the latest developments in easy, at-home diagnostic test kits for blood, DNA, and the gut microbiome, humanpeople’s AI platform conducts a personalised health assessment using medical and nutritional expertise based on the latest clinical research.
“The problem with going to a typical functional medicine clinic is that takes a long time, and it’s really expensive, making it the medicine of the very rich,” says Mullan, himself a functional medicine practitioner. “But there’s now a lot you can do digitally by taking DNA tests, gut tests and blood tests, integrating them with AI, and giving people really good advice.”
An AI functional health clinic
Mullan and his co-founders set about creating a preventative health platform that would essentially provide many of a functional health clinic’s services in digital form.
In order for users to see if they are moving the needle on their healthspan, Mullan suggests that the blood and gut microbiome tests are re-taken every four to six months and twelve months respectively, but this will vary from case to case. The DNA test is, of course, only needed once and is provided by Atlas Biomed, although users can also upload their own data, if they’ve had a DNA test before.
While digital health apps often provide feedback to users on how to change their lifestyle and behaviours to improve their healthspan, there is a major challenge with this approach – change is hard! By initially focusing on supplements, humanpeople aims to offer people a simple and effective way to effect real change in their healthspan.
“When it comes to preventive health, we know the answer is eat better food, sleep better, exercise more, but getting people to change their lives is a big ask,” says Mullan. “Yes, you need to start building those habits, but you can’t jump straight there. So we focused on a combination of addressing motivation and making things as easy as possible.”
Supplements deliver “impact factor”
Motivation comes in the form of the humanpeople dashboard, which shows users their “numbers”, with areas that need improvement highlighted in red. Making things easy is where the supplements come in. Following analysis of their test results, users can simply select the supplements recommended by the system, and then they receive a delivery of their personalised supplements every four weeks, all neatly bundled into daily packs.
“When I was trained as a doctor, the importance of the ‘impact factor’ was always hammered home to us, and if there’s one thing that we’re trying to change at humanpeople, it’s the impact factor,” says Mullan. “Of course, the best option is to eat an amazing diet, but the reality is the 80% of us in the middle struggle to do that. So the first and easiest step is supplementation, and we very much see that as that’s a bridge to a virtuous circle. It’s an easy change, but it can make a big impact, and hopefully that will lead to other changes.”
The supplements provided are high quality, but also typically supplied at high doses, where appropriate.
“The problem is, if you’re deficient, a normal dose doesn’t fix things quickly, so functional medicine practitioners use pretty high doses and will use multiple supplements for a period of time to get the results,” explains Mullan. “Because what we’re trying to do is improve function. And one of the ways you can improve function is by boosting the appropriate minerals and nutrients, but also some of the adaptogens as well.”
The results seen by humanpeople’s first users have been encouraging, and Mullan says that a majority reported improved energy levels, as well as showing significant improvements in cholesterol and LDL levels, as well as optimising levels of vitamin D and Omega 3.
While humanpeople is available direct to consumers, Mullan sees the best opportunities for the platform through businesses already offering consumer services.
“The direct to consumer channel will grow but we expect it will grow quite slowly, so we’re looking to work with corporate wellness businesses, nutritional professionals and fitness organisations,” he says. “In fact, we’re about to start a pilot with a CrossFit branch in London.”
Through its regulation by the UK’s Care Quality Commission, humanpeople has gone a step beyond many other digital wellness platforms, and this has opened up other potential opportunities.
“Interestingly, we’ve been approached by quite a few pharmacies, who are very interested in the diagnostic side of things, especially because we are regulated,” says Mullan. “If you’re ticking all the right regulatory boxes, then there are definitely conversations to be had.”
The pre-seed funding that humanpeople is currently seeking will allow the company to further develop the product over the next 18 months or so, including the development of an app, as well as to recruit key positions in sales and marketing. The company expects that future growth will come from product enhancements (such as additional diagnostic tests, integration of wearables, specialist supplement packs) to provide condition-specific solutions.
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