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This startup uses AI to predict lifestyle disease risks


This announcement is sponsored by Tissot.

Three years ago, when Prasanth Madavana was visiting a close family friend, little did he know that it was the last time they would meet. Sadly, his friend passed away after suffering an untimely heart attack, one that left Madavana deeply affected, more so because his friend had been so young at the time. But rather than just coming to terms with the loss, he decided to do something about it and this sowed the seeds for FEDO – a health warning system that keeps a check on your lifestyle choices.

Their innovative idea has not just won them popularity among customers, but also the Tissot Signature Innovators Club Award for the month of March 2017. Talking about the startup, Madavana, who has over 12 years of experience in the financial services, outsourcing, automotive, and hospitality sectors, says, “More people are falling prey to lifestyle diseases like hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. In fact, an average person is unaware about his/her risk till it has reached an advanced stage.”

The founders (from R to L) - Prasanth Madavana and Arun Mallavarapu, with Basudev

The solution to a very glaring problem

The fields of health and wellness may have made great strides technologically. But, lifestyle diseases too have multiplied. In India alone, over 14.2 million people die of lifestyle diseases in the age group of 30-69 years. As a matter of fact, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) say that lifestyle diseases can cost the Indian economy a whopping $6.2 trillion during the 2012-2030 period. Combine this with India’s dismal doctor to patient ratio and we are gazing at an unstoppable tidal wave.

FEDO, an abbreviation for ‘FEel good, DO better, aims to help people understand this very problem and help them lead a healthier life. It began as a simple health blog that intended to bring about awareness on various lifestyle disease related issues and remedies. But today, the startup helps you keep score of your health, based on a number of questions that you have to answer. The score is sensitive enough to understand minor changes in lifestyle and show the variations in the health risk due to those changes.

“Currently we deploy this on a B2B model. The score can be effectively and efficiently deployed for corporates, insurance companies, government institutes, etc. to measure, benchmark, and predict group/user risks and recommend preventive measures,” says Madavana.

An untapped space till now

FEDO was founded a year ago by Madavana and his friend Arun Mallavarapu, who holds an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. Their decade-long friendship started when they were working together at Accenture. “He is passionate about healthcare analytics and is responsible for and has set up the AI platform at FEDO. He was my natural choice to bounce off ideas when I started working on the blog, and there was no looking back from there,” says Madavana.

FEDO focuses on using the latest technologies like Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and natural language processing to identify the risk of lifestyle diseases in India. “People confuse us with health risk assessment companies (HRAs). We are different in the sense that we don’t give out a static health score. Instead, we compare an individual’s demographics and lifestyle with his or her peer group to come up with a score,” adds Madavana.

Creating an impact

FEDO gives you a score that is an indicator of your health - comparable, accessible to and usable by all the stakeholders for an impactful outcome. Apart from helping individuals find out how healthy they are, FEDO lends a hand to health and wellness providers in identifying the target customer groups.

The startup also helps insurance companies identify the risk profile of potential customers and develop custom-made products. In fact, with the help of FEDO, even corporates can identify employee health risk and design employee welfare packages to improve their efficiency. The best part being that all the data is completely anonymous, so no sensitive information is being divulged.

Adds Madavana, “We developed a reasonably good analytical tool and launched an app to gather data, which became the real feeder to refine our algorithm. Today, FEDO has a tool that predicts risks for eight lifestyle diseases and has tested with over 500,000 data points at 80 percent accuracy levels.”

The road ahead...

Currently, the startup is bootstrapped. They’re looking to raise funds for the next level of product development. FEDO has engaged with almost all the key insurance companies in India and three others internationally.

“We had launched the app only in the initial phase for tool testing, and that witnessed over 5,000 downloads in two weeks. We do not have an app-based product currently as our focus is on institutional sales. However, we will soon be opening the basic tool on our site and a Facebook page for individuals,” says Madavana.

What truly stands apart is their algorithm, which tells you how healthy you are and how each behavioural change affects your overall health. He adds, “We want FEDO to be the benchmark indicator of health. We have various parameters and scores to measure our financial health, intelligence, emotional quotient, etc. But the biggest wealth we have goes unmeasured and unidentified today.”

The five-member team is just starting to grow and have much to explore in the coming few months. Every day is exciting, chaotic and full of surprises! Winning the Tissot award was a happy surprise that came their way. “It feels awesome to be recognised by such a huge brand like Tissot. Apart from flaunting the award, we are planning to celebrate the win with a big screening of IPL. After all, it is a secret algorithm, that happiness in life keeps away almost all kinds of diseases,” he signs off.

If you consider yourself one such innovator or know one, fill in the nomination for the Tissot’s Signature Innovators Club.

About the author

Deepika believes that everyone has a story to tell. All you have to do is give them a voice. A staunch feminist and a Bangalorean at heart, she is interested in politics, travelling, books, and dogs. Harry Potter and football are a way of life.

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