It appears that GSF India-backed Biosense Technologies is looking to raise funds worth $42,000 through a crowdfunding platform for its urine analysis app uChek. For the same, uChek is using Indiegogo funding platform that allows one to contribute as little as $1 to the projects, although higher contributions providers users with specific perks depending upon the contribution.
At the time of writing this article, uChek has raised $5,777 from the platform. It’s not clear why Biosense Technologies chose to raise funds through a crowdfunding platform instead of raising funds from new or existing venture capital funds. Note that in March 2013, it had raised $500,000 of funding from GSF India and Insitor Fund and $150,000 from GSF Superangels network in March 2012 and was one of GSF’s first batch of startups. GSF has participated in the both the funding rounds. It’s also not clear how the company plans to use the funds raised. We have contacted Myshkin Ingawale, co-founder at Biosense Technologies, and will update the article once we get a response.
Raising funds or driving traction?
We believe that the intention here is not to raise funds as the target amount of $42,000 seems to be way too low. The company instead might be looking to test the popularity of the product or see if they can drive traction. The company provides perks to contributors who contribute more than a certain amount. For example, consumer who contributed $25 would receive an Original uChek kit and app that allows one to track 10 parameters in one go, analyze, trend, and email. The company is offering APIs for developers, training etc with the contribution.
uChek app is an urine analysis iOS app which can be used to test for 25 different medical conditions including diabetes, kidney, liver and bladder problems, pre-eclampsia and hypertension, and urinary tract infections. While the app is available as a free download on the Indian and the US app store, one needs to also purchase a uChek kit and urine dipsticks separately to conduct urine analysis through the app. The uChek kit is currently available for Rs 1,999 in India and $40 in the US, while the urine dipsticks is available at different price ranges starting at Rs 290 for 50 strips and going up to Rs 1596 for 100 strips.
In May 2013, The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had asked uChek to get a clearance for the app by the agency. In a letter to Biosense, FDA said that the uChek Urine analyzer has been approved since it appears to meet the definition of a device as defined in section 201(h) of the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act, however the uChek dipsticks which are made by Siemens and Bayer are approved only for direct visual reading and not automated analysis, due to which these dipsticks will require a new clearance for automated analysis. It’s not clear whether its dipsticks were given clearance for automated analysis.