A Q&A with Meddik co-founder Tim Soo. The New York City–based company was founded in November of 2011, and recently raised $750K in Seed funding. Investors include Chris Dixon, Zach Weinberg, and other Angels, as well as Collaborative Fund, Founder Collective, Great Oaks, and Silicon Badia.
SUB: Please describe what Meddik is, and the value proposition you bring to healthcare.
Soo: Meddik is a knowledge-sharing platform that allows users to share advice, questions and stories to their health network—that is, the body of people most clinically similar to them. An individual can see what’s worked for those people who have gone through similar health experiences while sharing what they’ve learned from their journey thus far.
SUB: Who are your target users?
Soo: The millions of people searching for health information—they’re our target user. Our site is designed to work both for those who would think and search on their health daily, perhaps someone with a chronic condition, or for those who only think of their health from time to time, say, a sports injury.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Soo: Many people draw comparisons to content farms such as WebMD. However, our focus isn’t to generate new content, but rather better organize what’s already out there in an intelligent fashion. Our most direct competition, then, are websites that centralize users and content based on some facet of their health profile—in most cases, by condition. These include online health forums and health-specific social networks.
SUB: What differentiates Meddik from the competition?
Soo: Our main differentiator is our high degree of personalization. Most sites focus solely on condition, whereas we take the entire health profile into the picture.
SUB: When was the company founded and what were the first steps you took in establishing it?
Soo: We incorporated in November of 2011. For the first few months we met with patients and held focus groups to try and understand what exactly the problem was with the state of online health information. We began iterating on products to cater to what we learned; at this point, Meddik is at its seventh version, and we’re still going.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for Meddik? Was there an ‘aha’ moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
Soo: The idea was definitely gradual. I quite literally studied health on opposite sides of the globe—medicinal plants, traditional medicine in Central America, and at a Children’s Hospital in Tokyo—to try to attain a holistic view on this problem of health. After all, it’s one of the few concerns every human shares. These experiences, along with a few personal anecdotes in the frustrations in finding good health information made it immediately obvious that many of the issues that exist within health could be solved simply by increasing communication channels. I was astounded there wasn’t really a ‘health network’ out there, though it made sense—health is a private issue. A network play with health would require finesse.
SUB: What have the most significant obstacles been so far to building the company?
Soo: Thus far, our biggest obstacle has been explaining what exactly what our site does. Every individual draws analogy to a different site—“So you’re the Pinterest / Reddit / Quora / Pandora / etc. for health?”—depending on what site they use. We struggled to communicate that we’re building something that really has no complete analog. But honestly, I believe our biggest obstacles are yet to come.
SUB: You recently raised $750K in Seed funding. What are your plans for the funds?
Soo: Mostly building out our team. At this stage, we’re focused on product development and really need talented team members who share our vision for the future of health.
SUB: Do you plan to raise more outside funding in the near future?
Soo: We’ll raise our next round when we feel we’ve hit our initial metrics. Whether that’s months or years from now is not known quite yet—hopefully months.
SUB: What are your goals for Meddik over the next year or so?
Soo: We launch into public beta on July 1st. Our heads are down in product until then. From there, our main goal will be focused on growing our user base. Health, not just wellness, hasn’t historically been sexy or viral—we’re here to change that.
Meddik – www.meddik.com