There is no question that in a world of mobile connectivity, technology is going to drastically change the health industry over the next few years. There are already many consumer facing health apps and companies out there, but will consumers pay for these apps? In fact, I did a quick search on my Android phone and it looks like Endomondo was the only health/fitness app in the top 100 paid Android apps. So where are the revenue opportunities for consumer health tech companies that are seeing a large amount of investment money coming in?
Tracking your fitness: I have a healthy obsession (pun intended) with my Fitbit, but even as an active Fitbit user, I have not felt the need to pay for the premium service. They obviously generate revenue from the hardware but it is still unclear to me if they can make the premium subscription compelling enough to scale their recurring revenue. Just like Mapmyrun or Runkeeper, I am skeptical that consumers will pay for this type of monitoring but there should be an opportunity to generate recurring revenue by eventually charging other apps to access their data through API’s (I think it’s currently free) once they get more traction.
Motivating Fitness: I like Earndit.com, which rewards you with points for being active by integrating with apps like Foursquare, RunKeeper and Fitbit to track your activity. You can then trade your points in to earn discounts on products typically geared to health conscious individuals (ie. running shoes and energy bars). Another interesting company helping to motivate healthy habits is HealthRally.com. Using gamification and peer pressure to help motivate can certainly be productive and both Earndit and HealthRally have revenue models built in that are not necessarily a direct cost to the consumer. I think there is an opportunity for these types of apps but they can’t do it without access to the data from tracking apps.
Measuring/tracking overall health and wellness: I am a big fan of the concept of WellnessFX.com (although I am not a customer, yet). WelnessFX is a simple platform and process, ranging from $650-$2950 per year, to test, review, improve and track your overall health, and I think they will be able to get some traction going direct to consumer.
In my opinion though, the biggest opportunity for consumer health tech (and WellnessFX) is getting businesses to care enough about it to foot the bill. There is certainly a lot of research around healthy and active employees being more productive. I saw several corporate wellness sites claim that “Every $1 invested in employee wellness programs yield roughly $4 savings through reduced sick days, higher productivity and decreased health.” So what would it take for businesses to pay for these types of services for their employees? What if a health insurance company gave significant discounts to businesses that had healthier and more active employees? Would employers start paying closer attention to the tools out there to measure this type of behavior? If a service could accurately measure what employees are eating, how active they are and what their overall health looks like by aggregating data from all of the services mentioned above, I think businesses would pay for it but then would consumers stop using them because of the “big brother” feeling of being watched by their employer? I hope not.
It seems that Lot18 is doing fairly well with their Wine deals. I love that they tell you about the wine, where it was made and what food it goes well with. As someone who dabbles with making his own beer, it struck me that there needs to be something just like Lot18 but focused on beers. As of 2009, there were almost 1500 micro breweries in the U.S. and I am sure that has continued to grow. Wouldn’t they love an opportunity to showcase their beer to people specifically interested in Craft beers? I know there is customer fatigue in the daily deal space but I still think you can capture people passionate about good beer to have a viable business. Beer.me is for sale too! I am very tempted to buy it.
I am not even a parent and it amazes me that test grades and report cards are still printed and sent home with children. Shouldn’t parents have real time access to how their kids are doing in school? There should absolutely be a mobile app that parents can download for free and use as a tool to get real time updates on their child’s grades, report cards, attendance, homework, etc. Teachers should have an easy web interface to input information related to each student which then syncs with the parents app. Two major questions I can think of:
1. Do you create your own interface and risk not being able to get schools to adopt it or can you integrate the app with systems that schools are already using to input grades and report cards? I would need to do more research to know for sure.
2. How do you monetize it? That one I figured out. Large tutoring companies spend a lot of time trying to market to parents during report card season. This app would be a gold mine for them. ”Poor little Mikey got a ‘D’ in Math… you may want to consider enrolling Mikey in X tutoring company to get him back on track.” I would guess conversion rates would be pretty high on that.
I did more research after writing this post and it looks like SchoolNet.com (recently acquired by Pearson Education) provides a similar service that is SMS alert based. On the right track but I think an app would be more effective, especially as a vehicle for advertising.
I don’t know…but I think it could.
Ever since watching ‘Waiting for Superman,’ I have been intrigued by what is being done and what can be done to improve education in the U.S. While the movie was clearly one sided and made the teachers union look pretty bad; it brought up some very good points.
How can we expect every teacher to be motivated when compensation is based entirely on tenure rather than performance? Most people are inherently motivated by money, and teachers are no different.
There are organizations like Donorschoose.org that allow people to donate money for school supplies and materials. What if there was an organization that allowed people to donate money to give cash bonuses to high performing teachers. As it gained momentum, it would start to become incentive for teachers to work harder. The first question is, how do you judge the teachers? Perhaps leverage sites like ratemyteachers.com, but I think it needs to be a combination of student, parent and administrative feedback to be fair.
I know a lot of very smart and highly motivated teachers, but I also know that if every teacher was like them we wouldn’t have as many issues as we do in our education system. Something like this may not work at all because it could end up simply rewarding the teachers that are already motivated and very good at what they do. Hopefully that wouldn’t be the case.
In general, if teachers were paid a higher salary would it attract more talent in the long run? Would the type A people of the world who currently go to business school, law school or medical school choose to go to school for education instead? And would our education system and society at large be better off if they did?
Any other ideas on how to help improve our education system?
I was recently talking to my Uncle who is a talented musician and has self produced several of his own albums. His music is on most major sites like Pandora, GrooveShark, Lastfm, Amazon, iTunes, Napster, etc and he has a prescence on MySpace, Facebook and Twitter; but it is overwhelming to manage all of these distribution channels. And how can you possibly know where to focus your effort when you don’t know what is working for you? Just like a business needs an analytics tool to measure the traffic patterns to their website to optimize their site, a band should have access to analytics to help them know where to focus their effort and if they are gaining any traction.
The feasibility of doing this is unclear because it does not look like some of these sites have open API’s and are willing to share their data.
What if a band could log-in to a tool and have a dashboard to show them things like: # of stations created on Pandora, # of people who listened to one of your songs, # of people who skipped one of your songs and which songs, # of people who liked one of your songs and which songs. Then imagine you had this info across Pandora, Lastfm and Grooveshark so you really knew which one was working and if you were making a difference.
This is not really a typical tech idea or a tech idea at all for that matter; but I have a severe allergy to tree nuts and can never find a protein or energy bar without at least some traces of nuts. My allergy is bad enough that I can’t mess with anything that even says “may contain traces of nuts” or “made in the same facilities as tree nuts.” As an “athlete” ( and I use that term loosely as my athletic career peaked about 15 years ago) with this allergy, I just want protein or energy bars completely nut free.
I looked at the market to see if it was worthy of a stand alone company and it may be tough. I found that 1.1-1.3% of the total US population has a nut allergy. This is a fairly niche market and really would only get big if you get non allergy suffering customers as well.
I recently emailed Element Bars (www.elementbars.com) with the idea. If they can make it happen, they just added a new customer who will certainly be an advocat for their product/brand.
Care.com just raised $20 million and SitterCity.com is huge. Why do we need another online community to match parents with sitters? My girlfriend just launched a beta version of www.theSitterSpot.com and here are two reasons why it could work:
1. Parents would prefer to find a sitter that either a parent they know recommends or a sitter they trust recommends. Care.com and SitterCity.com provide many tools for parents to see sitter ratings and perform background checks, but does a rating from a parent you’ve never met before actually mean anything to you? It is the major reason so many parents still find sitters offline. I think as more and more people go online to find service providers (ie. skillslate.com, redbeacon.com, etc.), there will be a market for parents who want a tighter community for something as important as a baby sitter. theSitterSpot.com will be invite only to create that personal community and a truly trusted environment. It will take the same benefits a parent receives offline and make the search and hiring process easier by putting it online.
2. As is the case with any platform that connects consumers with service providers; many parents stop hiring sitters through the site once they find one they like. theSitterSpot.com will look to build loyalty with sitters so they actually request being booked through the site. How will it do that? By providing products and services that the sitters may not necessarily be able to get on their own, such availability to shared car services or even health insurance to the top sitters.
theSitterSpot.com community is just starting to build but it should provide a better experience for parents in the Bay Area looking for sitters.
An easy concept, but there is definitely a market for barbershops in
airports. Often I’m running late to the airport, but also have a
business meeting early the next day and no time to stop for a haircut.
You could charge a few bucks more, and take extra caution to make it
a very clean haircut, with a shampoo. Pick airports known for business
travel and do a test run!
I wish I could claim this idea but it was Kent Goldman on Twitter.
Dear @ amazon
, would love for
you to have a “Ship to Toys for Tots
” option. More revenue for
you. And many many more smiles for
Recently 14 of my friends and I got together for our annual holiday “gentlemen’s dinner” and each person brought a gift to donate to Toys for Tots. I volunteered to drop them off and found it difficult to find a drop off location until I realized that there was one in every Toys R Us.
I think this idea is brilliant and think that more non profits should invest in some business development to work on distribution deals like this.
It is frustrating to me that I still need to call to book an appointment at a doctor’s office, dentist’s office or physical therapy office. Those aren’t the only services behind on the simple concept of booking online either (ie. massage therapists, acupuncture, salons, barbers, etc.). Many of them still have their receptionists answering the phone to book appointments and inevitably they pick up only to say… “please hold.” After waiting for five minutes on hold they act like it is an ordeal to pull the doctor’s schedule up and find out when they can squeeze me in. Wouldn’t it be more productive for everyone if you could do all of that quickly and easily online?!
One weekend, my girl friend and I were throwing some ideas back and forth; and she said we should create a way for people to book services (like those mentioned above) online. She mentioned there was a company that was doing it for a lot of yoga studios in San Francisco and it was doing pretty well but they only focused on that niche for now. We were not sure exactly how their business model worked but it seems they provide the technology for the yoga studios on a subscription basis.
I think it is a great idea and apparently I am not the only one. Just a few days ago Merchant Circle announced they were launching a similar service to book appointments at local businesses online. If executed well, this adds value to the end user and the service provider; and would make me a lot happier.