Founders’ Story: Somatix

Eran Ofir is the CEO and co-founder of Somatix, a leader in wearable-assisted gesture detection for real-time health intervention and well-being enhancement.

Why did you start this company?

“Before founding Somatix, I served in various executive roles in large corporations for over 15 years, successfully selling B2B software platforms. After nearly two decades working for the benefit of shareholders of public companies, I knew that I needed to make a change. I was determined to shift my focus to a position in which I could find more personal meaning and hopefully do good for people.
Around the same time, friends introduced me to super-mind Uri Schatzberg, now my co-founder at Somatix and our CTO, who holds an impressive track record of algorithmic development of cutting-edge tech innovations with over 20 patents to his name. Uri shared his latest finding related to wearables-based gesture detection as a general concept, still at the stage of needing a valid use-case.
Linking novel gesture detection technology to the newly emerging Digital Health market was simple. Somatix quickly received market endorsement after being the only Israeli startup selected to participate in both first-tier US healthcare accelerators: Dreamit Health, a top-10 ranked global healthcare accelerator based in Philadelphia, PA, and the New York Digital Health Accelerator, a New York City-based accelerator for companies developing disruptive digital products for healthcare providers.”

What specific need/problem are you seeking to address in healthcare?

“The healthcare market is growing and its associated costs are constantly on the rise due to an increase in population size and lifespan, a major surge in medical research, and ongoing diversification of healthcare services. Healthcare-related organizations are charged with the complex task of keeping expenses down without compromising care quality. To do so, they must shift from reactive curing to proactive real-time care – a shift representing both opportunity and challenge.
The opportunity lies in the technology – wearable devices that can continuously track people’s health and wellbeing. The challenge is being able to process, analyze and precisely interpret immense volumes of aggregated tracking data, to deliver actionable insights for health improvement. It is exactly this challenge that Somatix’s real-time gesture detection Remote Patient Monitoring platform addresses.
Aligned with the recent CMS approval of new remote monitoring reimbursement codes, Somatix’s platform is ideal for healthcare organizations charged with the complex task of continuously improving care quality, while keeping readmission rates down. A key strength is its ability to precisely interpret patient’s Activities of Daily Living and identify risk for adverse events, delivering actionable insights for health and treatment adherence improvement.”

What does your product do? How does it work?

“Somatix is a provider of wearable-enabled gesture detection solutions for health intervention and wellbeing enhancement. Our technological core – the Somatix real-time gesture detection platform – leverages sensors in standard smartwatches, smartbands and IoT connected devices. Additionally, it employs adaptive machine learning and predictive analytics algorithms to passively monitor massive volumes of gesture data, for analysis of a range of physiological and emotional indicators – all to facilitate personalized, cognitive behavior therapy incentive-based health intervention. Somatix’s innovative digital health solutions ultimately enable healthcare providers and clinics, employers, health insurance companies, and elderly caregivers, to increase the treatment’s efficacy and improve the lives of those under their care.

Somatix’s platform supports currently two major use cases: SmokeBeat, an innovative smoking cessation passive monitoring solution that taps into smartwatch and smartband accelerometer and gyroscope sensors, among others, to identify and distinguish smoking from other hand-to-mouth gestures. SmokeBeat features outstanding passive data collection capabilities, with machine learning Big Data and predictive analytics to generate and issue actionable insights to healthcare providers via a customizable dashboard. The solution enables the creation of personalized CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) based intervention to increase smoking cessation treatment adherence and effectiveness.

SafeBeing, a novel Remote Patient Monitoring solution designed specifically for monitoring of elderly, discharged, post-surgery and chronic patients – in the comfort of their own homes or assisted surroundings. Leveraging Somatix’s RPM platform, SafeBeing detects, collects and transmits relevant health data in real time, helping caregivers to closely monitor and follow up on those under their care. With a granular, information-rich dashboard, it is the first offering of its kind that allow caregivers to closely and thoroughly track activities of daily living, including falling, wandering, walking, sleeping, drinking, eating and medication intake. It immediately detects irregularities and alerts caregivers on worrying symptoms or undesired changes in patient functioning, health and wellbeing.”

Is this your first healthcare startup? What’s your background in healthcare?

“This is my first healthcare startup, but not the first business that I’ve built. I’ve built businesses before, and scaled them to large annual turnovers, in a few sectors – telecoms, internet, utilities and retail. I’ve found that the principles of building a new business in healthcare are similar to other sectors, in terms of catering to the needs and the KPIs of the enterprise customers you serve. Indeed, in healthcare everything is much slower, due to heavy regulation and very risk-averse players in the market, but when you have an innovative solution that increases top line and improves bottom line, everyone is happy.

When we started the company, we knew little about healthcare, but as we participated in two great US healthcare accelerators, we participated in many customer immersions, received feedback from all possible players in the healthcare value chain, and was fortunate to have great mentors from the industry, who worked closely with us on the products market fit and the commercial models. Eventually, it proved to work well.”

What is your company’s business model?

“Somatix is offering a three-layered commercial model:

1. Initial set-up fee for setting the environment, establish customer, assign account manager, institute communication etc.
2. Solution software license payment is defined per active user per month. A one-time payment for permanent user is another valid option where relevant
3. Services are charged (where applicable) for:
     a. Dashboard customization – if required by the customer
     b. Specially tailored reports
     c. Changes to software (CRs – Change Requests)
     d. Training (“Train the Trainer”)
     e. Support and account management.”

Who is your customer? How do you generate revenue?

“Our enterprise customers are providers (clinics), caregivers (for elderlies), operators of employee-benefits programs, hospitals and payers. The model is B2B2C so basically, any organization that is looking for the wellbeing and health of those under its care (patients, residents, employees, customers…) is a relevant customer.”

Do you have clinical validation for your product?

“Yes, we have run, to date, few clinical studies in the US, Canada and Israel, around the feasibility, usability and efficacy of technology and platform. Also, we have submitted a large number of research grants applications to various institutions in the US, thus we expect to have good volume of further clinical validation generated in the years to come. Working in the healthcare industry, we understand that the best selling point and door opener is sound evidence generated by continuous clinical validation with first-tier academic and medical institutions, thus we allocate a fair amount of resources and attention to it.”