LetsGetChecked, an Irish startup that offers a health test kit service so that you can take various common laboratory tests from the comfort of your home, has picked up $12 million in Series A funding.
Leading the round is Optum Ventures, the independent venture fund of health services provider Optum, and Qiming Venture Partners, the Chinese VC firm.
The funding will be used to scale the company, including growing the LetsGetChecked full clinical support team. In addition, the health tech startup plans to further invest in its technology platform that links customers to laboratories, and to continue expanding to the U.S. where it has an office in New York.
Founded in 2014 by Peter Foley, LetsGetChecked has set out to build a technology and logistics platform to bridge the gap between traditional lab testing and consumers. The startup’s home testing kits span a number of categories including “lifestyle testing,” cancer screening, sexual health testing, fertility, and hormone testing.
“Our aim is to make lab testing better, more convenient and patient led,” Foley tells me. “Traditionally, you need to attend a doctor’s office to obtain a lab test. The physician will determine what test is right for you, complete a paper requisition form, collect your sample and send it off to the lab for analysis. You will wait for a period of time to hear back from your physician and may never see the results. This is a slow process and far from convenient”.
Instead, LetsGetChecked mirrors the process that happens in a doctor’s office but in a way that Foley claims puts the patient at the center and makes it more convenient. “We eliminate the middleman and link customers directly to labs enabling them to better manage and control their personal health,” Foley says.
First you decide which tests or groups of tests you wish to access based on hereditary risk, curiosity or simply for health monitoring purposes. You then order the test via LetsGetChecked, which will be authorised by a medical board certified LetsGetChecked physician. A test kit is then dispatched from a LetsGetChecked accredited facility direct to your home. It is also worth noting that the kits are anonymised, containing just a barcode.
Once the test kit arrives, you’re responsible for collecting your own sample, whether that be finger prick, stool (for colorectal cancer), or a swab. You then send the sample to LetsGetChecked and can track progress via the app ‘dashboard’ at any stage during the process or request a call from the clinical team. When the lab processes the sample, the corresponding result will be reviewed by a LetsGetChecked physician and the company’s nursing support team.
“For positive or out of range results, patients will get a call from the team to discuss treatment options,” says Foley. “Only after a consultation will the results be released to the patient’s dashboard where the customer can track and monitor their health over time”.
The tests themselves range hugely in cost, from £39 for a cortisol test, £69 for a prostate cancer test, all the way up to £500 for a BRCA check (why is it that breast cancer tests are 7 times more expensive than testing for prostate cancer). Despite the extra convenience that a service like LetsGetChecked affords, the price of each test soon adds up and begs the question as to why you wouldn’t just visit your GP and request the same tests for free through the NHS.
Meanwhile, the LetsGetChecked founder wouldn’t be drawn on who the startup’s direct competitors are — although in the U.K., Thriva is an obvious example — except to say it was focused internally on innovating and building on its technology platform.
“The aim is to make the patient experience more enriched over time and through API integrations provide for a more consolidated and cohesive healthcare engagement,” he says, hinting at future partners as another way to market. No doubt the strategic investment from Optum Ventures will be able to help on that front, too.