Winner Spotlight: 1EQ Employs Connective Tech to Improve Care of Pregnant Patients
Between appointments, pregnant women still want to be able to reach their doctors. D.C. startup 1EQ is using mobile technology to make this interaction happen. Cofounder Juan Pablo Segura says the product he and his team have created to do this, BabyScripts, is one step on a larger mission to use the Internet of Things and connective tech to revolutionize healthcare.
1EQ won the health category of D.C.’s Challenge Cup and will go on to compete in 1776’s Challenge Festival in May. Segura explained the origins and future of BabyScripts and his company overall.
First of all, tell me about BabyScripts—what’s the problem that you’re trying to solve?
What we’re trying to accomplish is (to) use connective technology to improve the way healthcare’s delivered. I always like to start with that. We started our company, 1EQ, because we saw the opportunity these commodity connected technologies were already using through the Internet of Things. Healthcare just hasn’t been able to catch up and adopt some of these ubiquitous technologies in a way that matters.
We always like to start our conversations with the realization that there’s so much power at our fingertips that isn’t being leveraged to directly impact our health. And that’s our bread and butter. It’s why we started our company.
Now when you look at our product, BabyScripts, what it’s trying to do is to use technology to address the opportunity of including the doctor in the conversation and how technology is delivered and used in the healthcare space. We say that a lot because there’s this huge movement in healthcare called digital healthcare where there are a lot of apps, data, Fitbits and devices. But there are very few technologies as products that address the doctor problem as well as the patient problem.
We see ourselves as different because we are the only mobile prescriptive technology; you can only get our technology from your doctor. It doesn’t just protect the patient; it improves how the doctor practices medicine.
BabyScripts starts with a specific patient: pregnant women. Why target that demographic first?
A couple things. When we started our company we talked with a bunch of providers to understand where we wanted to start. And when you look at what OBGyns and hospitals with their OB care have to deal with, you look at the patient side and can see how they’re thirsting for information. Patients are tech-savvy. They’re looking for more technology to care for their health and their child’s health. It just seemed like a great place to start.
On the doctor side you have OB practices that are considered loss leaders for hospitals. The hospital usually loses money delivering children, because they want to introduce the family to their health system so they can come back and use other services.
OB care is also one of the few areas in health care that’s adopted what’s called the “global fee.” It’s basically a lump sum payment. And that’s where healthcare is going. It’s going into more lump sums for services like managing a condition or illness. So we saw the payment mechanism as a way to actually use technology to improve how much doctors get paid so they don’t lose money. Also … we can really help (doctors’) lives by using technology to answer a lot of questions and identifying risk so they’re not as busy in the office.
We always look at it as two sides of the same coin, because we address both patient problems and opportunities and doctor problems and doctor opportunities.
What are the backgrounds of you and your cofounder Anish Sebastian that led to 1EQ?
Anish and myself started our company about a year and a half ago … We actually worked together at Deloitte as consultants. It was a great job and a great place to learn but we were both attracted to the healthcare space specifically because we had family members or close friends who were affected by disease.
And so we started to learn about what happened on the data side, on the device side, on the technology side of healthcare. Anish had a technology background and I had worked in finance with a business background, so we came together and said, “We’re young. We understand there are some fundamental changes happening in the market and it would be foolish to not take a risk and try to create something that delivers value.”
We had no idea where we would go but we took a leap of faith. It ended up being very, very fortuitous, and it’s yielded results. It’s been a great endeavor so far.
What was your experience like at Challenge Cup? What were the lessons that you’ll take away from competing?
Just the fact that there are so many interesting things happening in Washington D.C. It’s great to have a room full of people interested in entrepreneurship. I’m from D.C., and “entrepreneur” is not a word that was thrown around often at all. That was just an awesome experience to see the buzz around the companies.
Second, I’d say, going through a process like this causes you to be very mindful of your startup. Explaining your company in 59 seconds has to be one of the hardest things in the world to do. It requires alignment, a very thoughtful process, almost a certainty to pitch what you’re doing and explain what you’re trying to accomplish in such a short amount of time.
You have until May for the Challenge Festival. What will you do between now and then to get ready and improve Babyscripts?
One of the things we really want to focus on is signing on more hospital providers. We have deals with more than 75 percent of hospitals in the D.C. area—but we can sign on more.
Obviously we want to get all the checks from our investors. And the last thing I’d say is to start to partner with some larger organizations, like March of Dimes and pregnancy thought leaders, so that it’s not just hospitals recognizing the value of our technology, but also the community.