Key Stats: CoverUS on Republic
Number of Investors
|Likelihood of Max|
At time of publication, January 21st, CoverUS had raised $47,462 in Republic.co’s proprietary, Crowd SAFE funding.
CoverUS has been selected as a “Deal To Watch” by KingsCrowd. This distinction is reserved for deals selected into the top 10-20% of our deal diligence funnel.
In 2018, a CarePayment study reported in the past year, 64% of Americans avoided medical care due to cost. The same study also reported 44% of Americans would not seek needed medical care if it cost them more than $500 no matter the medical consequence. Skyrocketing health care costs and American’s lack of financial discipline to manage small unexpected bills is not news to most.
Upon learning about the Facebook Cambridge Analytic scandal, consumers worldwide were horrified to learn how their personal data was used as a profit center for Facebook. Facebook’s profiting from customer data is tiny compared to the over $12 Billion-dollar healthcare data market. BIS Research forecasts, this market will balloon to almost $70 Billion by 2025.
Wait? What does this have to do with healthcare? Healthcare information cannot be sold the same way as my Facebook data. Right? Isn’t my health care protected by HIPPA? Correct. Your insurance, pharmacy, physician’s software provider, and other medical providers, anamyze your information and sell it to aggregators to understand consumers for big profits.
For example, Allscripts, is a publicly traded company which provides doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers with practice management and electronic medical records technology. Allscripts stated mission is, “Allscripts solutions enable smarter care, delivered with greater precision, for healthier patients, populations and communities.” Yet, $300 million of the company’s ~$1Billion in revenue is from data sales. Yup, approximately 1/3 of Allscripts revenues come from selling the data which it captures from its platforms. There is no mention of this large source of revenue on the website.
CoverUS will offer a smartphone app which empowers consumers to tie their EHR (Electronic Health Records) with additional real-world data such as exercise, eating, sleeping, symptoms and self-reported medical outcomes. This real-world data from patients is valuable to healthcare brokers, but difficult for brokers to obtain due to the cost of matching consumers with medical data due to strict privacy rules.
The consumer’s EHR and complimentary information is stored on CoverUS’s proprietary blockchain based RESPECT data framework. When a consumer agrees to sell their data, the consumer receives CoverUS’s digital currency, CoverCoin.
Eventually, CoverUS would like to use the currency to reward consumers for spending CoverCoin on healthy choices such as gym memberships, medical care, or other preventative services. For the near term, CoverUS will allow consumers to cash out the CoverCoin in their account to services such as PayPal or Venmo.
CoverUS is on track to launch its app to the public in Q2’19, inviting 1.5 million people coping with irritable bowel syndrome to be the first public consumers. In keeping with the CoverUS’s mission, after the initial group of people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, the company plans to attract a broad group of consumers to build a repository for data which will serve the current gaps in the research market.
The CoverUS team has experience in mobilizing and collaborating with different stakeholders. These skills will be instrumental to partnering with key influencers to gain the trust of consumers. For example, Mr. Hoppin told me one customer acquisition strategy is to partner with Union leaders. Mr. Hoppin acknowledged consumer’s concerns about allowing the use of their personal information. He theorizes convincing Union leaders about the power and potential of CoverUS’s mission will serve as the appropriate vehicle to engage the union members, a large group of consumers who can benefit from the service.
CoverUS will enter a crowded, yet booming marketplace of players in the data space. When CoverUS is successful, they will upend the business models of successful big data players. There is no direct competitor because there is no noteworthy company which is positioning themselves to enable consumers to own and sell their data. The above competitive landscape from a CoverUS presentation depicts the unique market positioning the company plans to carve out.
Co-Founder and CEO Andrew Hoppin has an impressive track record of guiding legislation in emerging technologies, carving out communally beneficial organizations, establishing navigating innovations and creating partnerships along with technical experience of guiding legislation to execute CoverUS’s mission.
Co-Founder and President, Christopher Sealey began his career in entertainment and consumer marketing before moving on to think tanks solving the world’s pressing issues. Most recently he focused on unleashing the power of blockchain.
The rest of the team and the advisor board is a collection of industry leaders in technology, advocacy, government, economics, marketing, finance, and non-profits. The collective group has innovated a broad spectrum of markets and new methods of accomplishing objectives.
Why We Like it
1. Purpose: CoverUS’s founders have assembled a “mission driven team”, according to founder Andrew Hoppin. The mission is twofold. First to collaborate with legal, ethics and group influencer experts to develop a path for consumers to own their data. The other side is to eliminate difficult gaps in medical research around behavior and environmental contributions to diseases and conditions.
2. Approach: CoverUS’s leadership team acknowledges the complexities of the legal, ethical and consumer perceptions surrounding the new industry they are attempting to create. The mature team has focused on building collaborations with elite organizations such as the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, and unions to ensure CoverUS’s mission is executed properly.
3. Timing: Obscene health care costs in the United States are unlikely to be reigned in anytime soon. Recent scandals have only begun to educate consumers about the unknown, massive market of customer data. Although few consumers genuinely appreciate the scale of big data, the volume and depth of big data will only continue to grow as more connected devices are utilized. Owning and profiting from a consumer’s own data is the next logical evolution. CoverUS appears to not just be at the table but wants to invest resources in a leadership role in shaping the market.
4. Data Demands: Researchers have reems of data to understand a broad swath of topics. What is sorely lacking is behavioral and outcome data tied to the time periods before and after a consumer is part of whatever is studied. CoverUS’s strategy will fill this significant gap in the lucrative big data market.
CoverUS’s mission to transform the lucrative big data marketplace by empowering consumers to own their data is an ethical, idealistic, and ambitious solution to the privacy issue. Legislative leadership is crippled by the growing divide in the United States. Even if legislative leadership was harmonious, recent congressional hearings painfully demonstrate the lack of technical understanding among leaders.
Consumers data should be managed in a structure, but no solution has been presented with mass appeal. While legal guardrails will inevitably be implemented, big data is far too valuable and technologically advanced to be managed by laws. More likely, market forces will force norms and structure to the market. Consumers equipped with the knowledge and power to own their data could be the answer.
CoverUS’s mission appears to be structured with the right balance of market forces and ethics to achieve its goals. There are powerful companies, laws and constituents who will not want consumers to own their data. CoverUS has assembled the right type of team to tackle this heady situation, hopefully they can anticipate and/or address all the bumps in the road to achieve their mission.
If this team can overcome these regulatory hurdles and become the unanimous data solution for the healthcare market, it will be one of the most important companies built over the next 10 years. However, we recognize that executing on such a challenging vision in such a highly regulated and antiquated market could prove too much, which is why we are assigning a Deal To Watch rating to account for the downside risk.
About: Meridith taylor
Meridith Blank Taylor has spent the past two decades providing strategic guidance to early stage businesses. Meridith has a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA in Finance from the University of Chicago.